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CAFE Meeting 03/08/23

Coalition Meeting Notes

At March's CAFÉ meeting, we met as a group to hear from Farmer Jones on the Black Farmer experience. We then split into 2 groups (Family Hunger, Equity & Access + Urban Farmers) to discuss a series of prompts related to inclusivity and policies.

CAFE Meeting Transcription

Casey Phillips: See if our co-chairs would like to maybe lift anything up and share anything with the people that are here before we get into our agenda.

Jan Ross: Caitlyn you have any comments you'd like to

Caitlyn Scales: share? No. Just happy we're all here together. I don't have anything specific today. Do you?

Jan Ross: Actually in Pepper I might. Take this moment to take on my part. But as we have constructed CAFE over the last 18 or so months it was a challenge of how do we continue to engage doers. And how do we continue to engage those that we might label as our thought partners? And that's a challenge and I feel one of the things that we'll cover today provides an opportunity to bring us all together. And then also the way that the meeting is constructed today. It gives us an opportunity to be able to intermingle both of those different groups and really hopefully we will be able to provide a little bit of what all of us want to come together to achieve in support of CAFE and food feeding equity. So my 2 cents for the

Casey Phillips: That's a great level set. I appreciate you setting the tone for everyone. And I know that we started the recording a little bit late, so welcome everybody to the CAFE General convening. I'd love to turn it over to our fearless program coordinator leader, and as I go to the lovely lady to the left, miss Pepper Roussel

Pepper Roussel: I am only here as an mc y'all. So thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. We are going to be getting started in just a second. And so just as a basic run of show, I am absolutely certain here, and I'll do it again for those of you who just jumped in to the meeting. Helena has dropped the agenda in the chat. For us first thing that we've got are co-chairs who are going to give us a couple of minutes reviewing the the goals of CAFE and then announcing a collaborative event.

Caitlyn Scales: Jan and Caitlin, I can go ahead and review the goals. Jan, if you wanna share the opportunity. Yep. Why don't you go ahead. All right, so just a reminder and Jan gave us a reminder already that our mission statement as a group in CAFE is to decrease the number of individuals in the capital region experiencing food insecurity. And we intend to do that by meeting the following goals to end hunger, no small task to teach and to grow, to promote greater utilization and access to existing feeding programs, and to promote collaboration across organizations and working groups.

Jan Ross: Very good, Caitlin. Thanks for that reminder. And so true. I think that this group represents efforts that really try to ultimately knock out hunger in our community. But as I was saying earlier, an opportunity that will allow us all to come together out in the community to really have an. And that is an event that Baton Roots will be putting on Friday, April 21st. It's in the afternoon and they are planning to host a block party at the Clarksdale Housing authority complex. And they will be planting 100 trees fruit trees at that. And also just to bring everyone together to have the opportunity to contribute, to growing a forest of fruit trees on the grounds of this housing complex. And so it is an opportunity for us to come together. One of the greatest things of a coalition is that it provides. An opportunity to come together. This is physical opportunity for us to come in person with each other, to work side by side, to really carry out the mission of the coalition. SK is there anything that you would like to add to that? I know that you're much more involved than myself in the details.

SK Groll: Yeah. Jan, you did a wonderful job. Thank you. I am so excited about this event. So this will be a culmination of all hundred trees, but we are gonna start planting them a little bit sooner. So they're gonna be at eight different community gardens around the parish. And all of these are community gardens that Baton Rouge has been operating alongside of the Housing Authority. And so we're so excited to be able to partner with our friends at Baton Rouge Green. To bring fruit trees as well as education about fruit trees to these spaces. So we'll be planting the final set of them on that day, April 21st, but that'll be the trees 92 through a hundred. And all of the rest will be in. So we'll have the registration information sent out with the meeting notes, like Helena said in the chat. And then there will be a couple of other events that you can tap into between now and then if you want to plant more trees than even on the 20.

Jan Ross: Very good. Thanks SK Pepper.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you, my dear friends, my favorite food friends for not only giving us that level set, but also this opportunity. So excited about the idea of planting fruit trees because that's where food comes from, is from things that grow, whether it is an animal of some sorts or it is a tree. And using that as a segue, who doesn't love a food forest to introduce Farmer Jones who just welcomed baby goats? To his farm last night or this morning. So Farmer Jones is going to be sharing with us a little bit of his experiences. Now. This is really to help us not only make this work a little bit more tangible, but also to understand where and how we can fit in different parts of the breakouts and food access. Food hunger, addressing hunger, as well as farmers and growers. And what does that look like from the perspective of the coalition as we move forward? So without further ado, farmer Jones, the floor is yours.

Farmer Jones: Hey, how y'all doing today? Sorry about the Whatever outbursts earlier. I'm sorry. It's Casey's fault. Anything I go wrong, I'll blame it on Casey. So I got another little baby goat, ain't she so cute. Hey Sugar Bean. This Sugar bean, that's a real name. But to get back so I don't be holding everybody up. I'm just glad to be a part of this. The garden, especially in my heart, I can get the big agriculture concept down already. But what you all allowing me to do is to develop and train more farmers to be able to have agri tourism events or to put some and say, Hey Keith, we wanna break some people out in boil some crawfish, and actually get them to see the life of the farm. And that's a connection that most farmers don't have. Yeah, the sell produce, they, it is great, but the, what you all doing is actually y'all the plug, if that makes sense. The power source for people like me to keep going. We love the people. It's nowhere around it. Farmers are people, persons. I, if y'all know of any shy farmers or farmers that don't wanna share and be open, I don't think that's a real farmer. It's always about the people, but out of all the organizations that's tried to have him be a part of stuff, I can say this from the bottom of my heart. Casey has been honest and open with me. Baton Roots, you guys, what y'all doing? It's nothing like it. It's needed. Y'all see where food pricing is going, it's gonna keep going up. And I'm just here to be a part of how y'all need me to do with me and my farmers of about 20. I don't know if that was what you needed, Ms. Pepper, but

Pepper Roussel: So let me ask you a couple questions. Farmer Jones. When we look at urban farming and we talk about not only access for folks who want to grow things, can you share with us your experience in actually obtaining land and having that land be zoned for farming?

Farmer Jones: And that's more in the urban area? Correct. Okay. Yeah. As far as obtaining the land is, that's where it kinda gets I guess I'm just being open where I'm not financially sound, where I can go right in and buy the property right out and say, Hey, this is gonna be a what I want. This is my land. It's not zone commercial. I'm giving the food away. So that's where my hands are tied, but on an aspect of what you, why I would love to pretend to work with y'all cause y'all can help me get connected to, I don't care how many blighted rundown properties that kinda to not only fresh food activities, morale for socially. It can allow me to come in and put more of my input and more of my knowledge on farming and how it can be sustainable than navigating those political ways to say, Hey, look this property's been here for 30 years. I've born and raised in Baton Rouge. Can I just plant some mustard greens for free? And they tell you no. As far as the inner city, it's a little tough with until I have you and rent to you all and we're starting to work together and that's the deflator as far as urban connecting the farms to urban because let's say I wanted to bring a couple chickens or something, a baby goats . Regardless how compliant it is, it depends on the zoning. And it stinks sometime. It does because it's like, all right, cool. I can't, y'all can come here and we can turn up. Y'all can do whatever y'all want to do here. I know all of the police, they know me very well. Firefighters, ambulance, everybody's safe. But bringing the form to the city, I think is a unique way of getting there kids to come in behind us to youth, to make sure this outlived everybody that's on this Zoom.

Pepper Roussel: Agreed. And so we were just talking about planting fruit trees because who doesn't love food forests. Have you had an experience of engaging folks who are in the neighborhood, in, in your farms or getting a farm? Are, is this something that they even wanna do?

Farmer Jones: They want it every, it is no person that I've met it ain't right. Mine, I'm a mine is not always there. Y'all trust me on that. That's Casey's fault. Okay. But to be frank, they want it. There's not. And then if you all, if I'm wrong and be, I'm being outspoken to farmer, I've never run across anybody, especially in the urban areas of what are y'all doing where they say, Hey, I don't want access to fresh food. It doesn't matter if it's coming from Sweet Jones Farms or whatever, farms, Hey, this is accessible and I can go get in this fresh, I want it. And so I've never had any pushback from the community or the consumers? It's a need. For, there's a fight, so they're not gonna do it. They're not gonna be the ones like Baton Roots , but they would love to be able to support. You know what's going on. Of course, if it's plentiful where I can probably go here and support one garden and I know you guys got another garden, I'm gonna go here and just go over there anyway and buy that fresh too. I'll do that. So it's collectively the community or for example, the kids like that I can bring out some baby goats to the community. The urban, there's something that they'll never forget. And again, we talk sustainability and something longevity perpetual. And that's what you all bring to the table where the community's behind me as much as possible. My best bet is to work with people that, on the zoom, to let them know I got the farmer side, but what is needed is what's on the zoom. That's the necessity for farming.

Pepper Roussel: So I know that you have, and we all know that you have a rural space where you've got the baby goats and all the bells and whistles of farm living. It feels very Green acres all of a sudden. Probably before your time. That's all right, because I got some nods and smiles. Yeah, but are you with your collaborative or coalition. Of, of other farmers is, are y'all looking? Does it make more sense for y'all to work in the city as well as in rural spaces? Or would you rather have somebody who is just in an urban area to do whatever farming is necessary in that urban space as opposed to you coming in to do.

Farmer Jones: That's a good question. For the, and I'm just, again, just speaking, especially for minority farmers or black farmers, we only represent about 0.2% of what's in the store. And so I've just gone over the years, found a way where it can be more lucrative for farmers to be involved with. Companies like Case and everybody that's involved in Zoom so it can sustain their growing practices at the farm. Because most of the time we're going up against these guys got 50,000 acres of bell peppers. They're gonna get the better price. And Yeah, it is. It is obviously detrimental, but I can definitely be a voice for letting farmers understand the severity of working in inner cities, whether it be coming and just help set up a garden. It could be just a presence to. Say hey, look, this farmer was here. This gone just to connect the dots where it could be lucrative but sustainable. That's a very good question. You don't get asked that much, but yeah it's a lot more lucrative to work in the inner-city curriculum-based ideas that you're already doing. People that can actually gather the funding because like right now for track what's going on, most of my farmers, they ready, they on the tractor, the heads in the dirt. Not that it is bad, but it's farming. You don't have a day off. It's not a weekend holiday. I hadn't been on vacation in 10 years. I'll go on some it's, but it's the calling. And to allow a farmer to have a life be lucrative, they need to be able to work with companies like you all. Do both at the same time, if not time consuming. Yes sir. Water. Okay. You wanna do the water for them? Okay. You want, this is just, this is what it's about.

Pepper Roussel: The last thing though, is there anything that you, because it sounds as if there, even if it was a rural farmer who was managing or even teaching urban folks how to farm or to garden, right? Having that distinction that there is a pathway to actually get the food, either to a place to sell it or to people who just want to eat it. So that's not the problem necessarily. Correct. With all these things being considered what are the final thoughts that you wanna leave the group with?

Farmer Jones: Just make sure you, y'all include us in anything possible we can. I'm getting my farmers more, I guess you can say trip accessible than just farming, like certain cross fencing for animals with people come out and actually see, but just keep doing what y'all doing. This is this motivates the soul. Cause we can, if we could, we, most farmers would sell food and give it. It's just not the game we're in especially minority farmers, but y'all doing everything right for me. I'm okay with coming off my farm to be a part of this. Most farmers aren't because we'll normally get the back end of the sticks, the back end of the grants, and do most of the labor. If it becomes to big ag or certain knowledge given keep doing what you all doing. Keep being transparent. I have so many farmers calling to be trained and developed to where I can now give them a end goal type of mindset where it's not dealing with just their land, it's dealing with the urban city, because that can perpetuate knowledge faster than the rural areas. Everybody's in the country already got their own gardens. I live next to three commercial farmers, fourth generation. , it's about the kids in every city and what y'all are doing, making that difference. It's a fight. It's a war. I want y'all to know it is a fight. Food is a, it is a war. It's not a joke. No.

Pepper Roussel: Growing your own is a radical act. There's an act of resistance. Are there any questions from the co-chairs? Casey? Helena, before we shift?

Jan Ross: I very much appreciate you talking with us and do definitely want to, I'm not sure if he's still with us, but definitely want to gain more information as to where they are and what they do. Just because one thing that as a coalition we can do for him is bring greater awareness as to what they do. And it sounds like he's got a network of farmers that with the additional awareness, you know, of our coalition, it could be very helpful to him. So I appreciate him sharing with us.

Farmer Jones: I appreciate y'all objects. That's for the horses animal food. Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: So we appreciate you taking part of your day, farmer Jones, and sharing any of those.

Segueing from something that Farmer Jones was just saying is that ultimately Their are people who wanna. There're people who want to eat and people who need food. There are folks who maybe need some assistance on both ends of things. And this is the moment that we will have discussions around our goals of focus in the working groups that are part of CAFE. And so I'll leave it to the co-chairs to direct us on how it is that we want to go into the next 20, 30 minutes. Cuz we've got three prompts in the yeah. One a, one B, and prompt two in the agenda. So do y'all wanna break out or you just wanna stay here together?

Caitlyn Scales: I feel like it might be good to split in half, but maybe not do three working groups. That way there's a little bit more time to hear each other's thoughts. I feel like 50/50 might be a better compromise.

Jan Ross: I think that the prompt questions can provide some valuable information from us. Splitting in half, that'll be eight on each side, and I think that would be a good size. And

Helena Williams: do we wanna combine the equity access with the urban farmers? Does that sound okay?

Casey Phillips: I was gonna suggest like in the NBA when they do team, LeBron in team Duran. I said Team Jan, team Caitlin. But yeah, that's let's just go ahead and do that, Helena, since you have it Presorted, and if anybody winds up in a group that they would like to be in the other one. Because you like your teen Jan, then just ask and we'll make that happen. Does that sound good everyone?

Jan Ross: I want all to be on team Jan. I just need a note taker and then I need a speaker.

Helena Williams: You should be able to self-select your room. So I'm gonna go ahead and open them.

Caitlyn Scales: Was there a shared note sheet we were gonna use?

Helena Williams: Yeah, I'm gonna, let me put that in the chat right now. It's in the agenda, but let me just pop that in here. Okay.

It should ask you to make a copy.

Caitlyn Scales: Got it. Thank you.

Jan Ross: And. All right. Is this our group?

Helena Williams: It looks like you're still unassigned, but I can go ahead and move you. Jan, are you family and child hunger?

Jan Ross: Yes.

Helena Williams: Caitlin, are you the food equity access, or family and child hunger?

Caitlyn Scales: I can be wherever you need me to split the combo.

Helena Williams: Okay. I'll put you in the equity access.

Caitlyn Scales: Talk about that we can engage as a coalition. So maybe we just start with Prompt one A, how might your organization or your working group engage with and or advocate for black farmers? If you're already doing this, please share. So just opening the floor for prompt one a.

Allison Flynn: I'm Alison with BREADA and I will share that we have been involved in something called the L F P A. It's an acronym that stands for the local food purchase assistance. Cooperative agreement, I think. And it is a very large grant that came from the U S D A through the Department of Ag and Forestry into the network of food banks in Louisiana. And the purpose of this funding is to purchase food from socially disadvantaged farmers. And then distribute it to the community through the food bank system. So this has been in the works pretty recently and is officially off the ground. So I definitely want to make everyone aware of that. You can find I'll put that in the chat in a moment. But this is obviously a great opportunity for minority farmers to. , maybe get some contracts going, sell more products and potentially scale up their work. Yeah. For a three o'clock project. We are not currently doing direct work with producers, but we are strategically planning to shift the way that we're engaging with partners and our after school and summer sites to work with folks who are a direct pipeline to producers. And so I think. An advocacy standpoint we certainly can be strong in and things like what you just described, Alison, and ways that people can be connected to, to do more great work together.

Caitlyn Scales: But We, we don't have the ability at the moment to directly source, but with our partners we can prioritize procurement and direct producer relationships. So I think it's exciting to think about understanding this landscape more and seeing how funding is used to support farmers in our regions and in rural and urban areas to be able to really put that at the top of the opportunity for procure. Chris, do y'all do anything directly?

Chris Spalatin: Not with, not directly with farming. I think I'm gonna meet with farmer Jones at some point. But yeah, I know. When I talked to Emily, she was talking about how one of the challenges with working directly with smaller farmers is on the distributor's side. It's not like you have the bandwidth to Chop all a bunch of onions or something like that, or to sort the food. And then on the farmer's side, it's the same thing. They can get it from the farm to wherever they're supposed to go, but to have it all packaged and everything like that. So there's kinda like that middle step. Something that I've heard a ton outside of farming, but in the food insecurity space is the lack of a commissary kitchen for small businesses. Yeah. And I know that there is a kind of a push for that with Wilson Foundation that's happening right now. And we don't have really any direct involvement in that, maybe. Better at this point. I've been talking with with some folks at Southern Ag. I'm meeting with Gay Sandoz hopefully in a couple weeks when I get back from a trip to see what they're doing. As in that respect, I've had really positive interactions with Baton Rouge Community College. with Howard Vier. I think Dr. Fatima is their culinary director over there from Southern Ag. So I know like that training facility on their workforce campuses is empty most of the week. So it seems like that could be a short term solution. But yeah. And then there's a couple small businesses that I'm working with. I don't know what, which, I guess LA Tire went to the other room. . But I know a lot of folks are trying to get into the, either like the food distribution space or opening grocery stores. Like in North Baton Rouge. So I yeah I'm all for it. I work specifically with small businesses, so it touches a little bit of everything, but from a policy standpoint, I could refer stuff up to Trey. But definitely something we're interested in helping out wherever we can.

Caitlyn Scales: Yeah. I wonder if anybody else has anything to add for one a, I'm starting to also hear and think about things for one B as well, if we're thinking in one. So maybe I'll pause for one A. Does anybody have anything else to add about your current experience or thoughts or ideas? So for one B, thinking more specifically about policy solutions what Allison and I were talking, was it last week? Did we chat? It feels like yesterday. That was last week. We were chatting, just catching up on the work that our orgs are doing, and one consistent thread from that conversation and others around farmers and producers in Louisiana is the is the desire and the amount of people who would like the food and then the economy of scale access and how much food is actually available to meet the need from our Louisiana based farmers. And I'm wondering what experience folks have with that, or if there's anything happening in policy around like land or growth or capacity building. My understanding is that we, locally being Louisiana, that the amount of food produced from our local farmers is maybe not meeting the need or can't right now. But I may have a misunderstanding on that pulse. If we were to think of the whole ecosystem, like local procurement, being able to feed school districts, small organizations, large organizations, grocery stores, so on and so forth.

Allison Flynn: I share that perspective that there's currently not enough supply to meet that demand.

Pepper Roussel: When we talk about the demand are we talking about just feeding people who are hungry or are we talking about having this overflow of food so that when you walk into a grocery store that it feels as if there are things that are plentiful? Because those are not the same answer. And so I'm asking the question from a perspective of. We are an agricultural state. And so the idea that we could not produce enough for people to eat seems a little counterintuitive.

Caitlyn Scales: Sure. So that's what I'm looking to clarify and understand better. So I think maybe two buckets. One would be grocery store, all access, people getting food. Then maybe there's three buckets. Then there's families in need or highest need, vulnerable populations being fed. And then there's like schools, programs and pipelines for feeding that follow as very specific guide. and can't take just anything that's in season or have a surplus of rice. So I think there's like these buckets where the needs are there across the board, but how does policy or opportunity and quantity align with those and how can we help as a coalition lift up or amplify or learn more about the gaps? It's a big question.

Chris Spalatin: is there any anything from Baton Roots on what y'all's capacity is and what you produce and where that goes to? I wonder how does what to what level, how much regulation is there once the food is produced to, to either give it away or to sell it or to move it to the next?

SK Groll: Yeah, so with the bulk of our food produced in the Baton Roots at the farm and the community gardens, we give it away through a variety of mechanisms, whether that's through community partners who are doing like cooking classes, cooking demonstrations directly to folks at the farm or through the free fridges. because we are producing under a certain volume threshold, we're held to less like food safety standards than a farm that is producing at a larger volume. We hold ourselves to like you safety standards in terms of like washing and pack and food at that higher threshold. But like we don't have the same like oversight that a higher volume operation would have. And that's just based on N C R S and federal regulations. With scaling up our operation is really. , both the soil quality which Mitchell could speak to a lot better in terms of just. Slowly getting that like in line and things like drainage. So like we have some plots that we haven't been able to operate it in because there's a big drainage issue in some of those spaces and we're working with BR to try to remediate that. But also in terms of labor costs, right? Or just getting consistent volunteer labor. And so those are things that for us as a smaller non-profit operation are really challenging. And I imagine are also really challenging for small business owners, right? I think. I've been thinking a lot about like how to connect like different land policy and Farmer Jones. You mentioned this in your, in what you shared with the larger group of okay, yeah, could we use adjudicated lots? Could we use places that have been that are not being actively utilized in the same way in urban spaces to grow. And I think we've been talking with the city about that. In terms of the Garden Alliance Network. I think it'd be really interesting and really cool to use some of those spaces as incubator plots for a small business, right? If you were able to get people who wanted to start their small business, access to that, to do business coaching, to do the far food safety training and connect them to a larger distribution network, right? Whether that was like a food hub or breta or something else, but. I think that there's a lot of barriers around like how does that land actually get managed long term and what are like all of the operational and technical challenges that would go along with that, like that chain of things. But I think that there's opportunity for us as a community to do more to resource and incubate early career farmers and farmers who are trying to scale up their operations. But it requires like leveraging some resources that right now are in different pockets. . Yeah. Things that are sticky.

Chris Spalatin: Yeah I know. Like on the job market front as a whole. And I don't these numbers, I wouldn't take them too literally because the phenomenon of somebody working multiple part-time jobs that leaves the labor force, it, it looks like three jobs are vacated. They were. . But it was just one overworked individual, but I think there's 30,000 openings and 11,000 people looking for jobs. So I wonder on the labor side if these jobs outside of like an idyllic notion of farming and growing food for yourself, like you're saying pepper, it's like this awesome literal show of resistance and active resistance. Out outside of doing that. If it's a matter of it's your nine to five I wonder who would be attracted to this type of work? Cuz it's like farmer judges saying it's certainly not easy but yeah, I love the idea of having more access to it. But if it's weekend farmers or volunteers. I imagine that would be really hard to scale up and to get more funding or get more buy-in from partners that will help with some of the land usage issues, like you're saying, like the drainage and stuff. A as far as like an overall kind of from a budgetary stand. Money that kind of goes, that the funding that's earmarked for this type of stuff a lot of it I imagine is buying or procuring the food material that would go into making meals like for child nutrition. I know that's super, super high bar like you're saying, Caitlin, but I wonder what per, I wonder is there any sort of mandate at the state level to have to buy local or I can imagine not cause it would be too expensive.

Caitlyn Scales: There isn't. However, the U S D A has put out a lot of because they're changing the regulation on school nutrition requirements to ramp that up. They are encouraging local procurement and near area. Purchasing you can define it. So most of Louisiana's gonna need to define that as regional for child nutrition programs. But yeah it's not official, but we, for example, are partnered with East Baton Rouge school district to try and instill pass the policy next month for good food purchasing, which would be a values-based procurement that would roll out over five years to target local economies. And Not officially, but the funding from the feds is certainly encouraging that path to be the direction folks go to ramp up the nutritional value.

Chris Spalatin: Okay, that's cool. Yeah, and it's less logistics to get it from point

Caitlyn Scales: A to point B and Right. It can stay fresher longer, it can just hooked faster. You don't need to flash, freeze things as often or for as long. So the, in theory, if that could all happen, that's great, but once you get districts across the state targeting that, and you have our farmer's markets and you have. Food banks and then that economy of scale is quite different than I think what we're used to seeing tap now, which already, depending on the season and the need feels feels like it, it may be hitting a cap. But the funding on both sides is happening, right? So we have this huge grant to help invest in capacity building for farmers right now, and food banks. And we have this avenue of potential regulation that's being started on a slow drip with education and child nutrition programming. I don't know if those things do a really happy dance, then maybe we'll have a grand finale of more funding, more capacity and really healthy, delicious food for kids and everybody. But who knows? We'll have some elections in there. You never know.

Pepper Roussel: So I can tell you for sure that the threshold for having to put Food Out for Bid for Schools was adjusted several years ago. Meaning that if a school wanted to contract directly with a smaller local farmer, that they could do that in order to bring food into the school itself. I will leave this as a caveat that The focus for schools is often not food itself. And so that became a bit of a challenge of actually getting the school leaders on board with doing that extra step of procuring directly from a smaller local farmer. And and so the money that looks like it could be coming in from U S D A and then encouraging I there are ways, so for instance, since a three o'clock project doesn't, after. Feeding program as opposed to a lunch program or a school pro a school program that would have to go through the school itself. Those are different opportunities. And when you ask the Quest question, Chris, about what are the budgetary standpoints and actually providing those meals it would be a. A path of less least resistance to go with something that doesn't have to go through the school directly.

Caitlyn Scales: Yes, and only speaking to E B R currently without this policy being passed, we have been partnering with their C M P for their fall bids for next year to put language in there. Coming into next school year and the year after the Val stating the values of good food purchasing and prioritizing local procurement so that a local farmer who has a cost of X can see a growth potential on an economy of scale and hopefully negotiate a cost to roll into with a school district or something like that. So the language. The language and idea of targeting that procurement at different economies of scale with a group as small as us, or a district as large as 72 campuses is definitely starting. And so I think it's just a, it's everybody's, I think trying to achieve the same mission of healthier food that supports our local economy and has grown in our backyard And The reality of, we may not be there yet to have everybody have access to those things, but what can we be doing proactively to get there? We only have five minutes left together and I feel like we, there's so much more we could talk about, but I do wanna briefly, if it's okay to transition to talk about prompt two. Is that okay if we jump to that? Okay, so prompt two, we, Jan said at the beginning of the call, we are trying to make sure that the way that we all engage together stays action-oriented and things that we actually want to be contributing to together. And so we're hoping that this April 21st opportunity is a good example of that. We also wanted to take a minute to capture from folks while we have this time together, what types of activities can we be planning or joining that already exist to continue those action-focused experiences specifically around health and food equity in our region? So just like a list of ideas like this, planting trees and supporting the mission of baton roots. As well as the area in which they're planted. That feels like a really great, strong living out of the mission. But what else is on the docket and what else ought we'd be doing? Or what do you want to do together?

Chris Spalatin: This might be coming outta left field a little bit, but I have my oldest kid is in kindergarten. and there's 25 other kids in his class and four other classes. I'm sorry, three other classes of 26 kids. So there's just a lot of little people, and we go to a lot of kindergarten birthday parties.

A lot of them are at movie theaters or arcades. Knock Knock museum. It runs the gamut. I wonder if there's, and I apologize if this already exists, but if Baton Roots had, yeah if Baton Roots had a birthday party package or something, cuz it'll be, the kids would think it would be the coolest thing ever and they can run around and be outside and the parents just do what they would do and just stay there and walk around. But it could be a way, a sneaky way to get the word out and attract kids. I would rather do that than go back to the trampoline park or something. . .

Caitlyn Scales: I love that. I love that. These are good ideas. Or go out to a farm and do a petting zoo and have your dinner, be at the farm, pick your dinner or something.

Chris Spalatin: I love that they, I dunno if anyone's ever been to a Stroma brewery. That's, for me at least, it's way out there, it's super cool. It's a local kind of restaurant tour-type guy, but I think it's like in his backyard. But they have like animals there. And I think Tuesday night, his family night when they bring the animals in so kids can pet him. But it is like a brewery and they have decent kitchen for the size of the operation that it is, but it's a weird little. , but it's fun. It feels like you're on a farm when you're there. I think. I think people are, it's outta yearning. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. .

John Haynes, I think is the guy

Caitlyn Scales: yeah. I've never been there, but it the like brainstorming places and things like this so that if we did a gathering or partnered with them to do like a sharing of some upcoming policy or advocacy on a kid's night or whatever, or I feel like there's ways to engage in places that we would all want to put our money into. It's helping support a farm and it's a chance together and it may have a partnership in some way for the kids or for awareness or anything else. I think these are great.

Chris Spalatin: Yeah, and I'm, it's so hard I know to do events and stuff, like I do very little of that here at my normal job. And I know there are a ton of events at Baton Rouge already. They never seem to line up with our specific schedule. Everyone's schedule's different. But yeah I would love to get more involved with that.

Caitlyn Scales: Cool. Awesome. What other ideas do we have? We got less than two minutes before we go back to the main

pepper, could you share really fast the link to our notes so that we can maybe throw some things in there after with the time? and I don't know if I said link to our notes or notes to our link, but you knew what I meant. So thank you, thanks for the sharing and ideas, everyone.

Chris Spalatin: The vertical farming thing to me is so cool.

Caitlyn Scales: Totally. Agreed. Lots of opportunity.

Chris Spalatin: I think like the hydroponic, you don't even really need that much soil cuz it's all and it drains and I don't know anything about it, but it, it also looks super cool.

Farmer Jones: Yes. It's exactly, it's soil-less. It's no soil use, actually.

Chris Spalatin: That's right. That's right.

Farmer Jones: That is the future of mass production of food. I will say vertical farming I'm a big fan of that. Yeah.

Chris Spalatin: That's sort of project would be something that I think we could get. I'm just saying like that to me is something that could be really interesting if we got somebody to express come up with a plan on how to actually do it, that'd be awesome.

Farmer Jones: Yeah. Those towers could push out a lot of food in a short period of time. Yeah. It can do some serious feeding

Casey Phillips: For our group. I know it's hard to believe, but years and years ago, I was actually, I did take the test and I cannot use the excuse. I am not ADHD. I am just my brain with caffeine just goes in that direction. So appreciate the space and Christian is always a pleasure to share space with you, brother.

Jan Ross: Farmer Jones, if you can hear us our breakout session. We all of us agreed. We'd like to learn more about what you do and what you operate at your farm. And is your farm in the Felicianas is it in the Livingston Denham Springs area?

Farmer Jones: It's a St. Helena actually crosses over from Livingston proper. Actually both parishes, St. Helena and Livington. So I have to deal with the Livingston, fsa and the, it's pretty cool though. It's rural. But it's not far from Baton Rouge. It's maybe about a good 40 minutes, maybe. Take your time. But currently, and I'm gonna talk with Casey if I can share, we're actually about to expand it here in the next start the project something really special. Yeah, it's a good time to come out and y'all see it's, y'all love it. Y'all not gonna leave and air's different, it's a total different world out here.

Jan Ross: Yeah, you are definitely encouraging us. Piqued our interest, definitely, as to what you're about to kick off.

Farmer Jones: Oh look, I like to cook too. So y'all come with ideas. We can have little think tank moment and I'll give y'all some farmer table stuff and I got a good friend of mine that's a chef, so y'all always welcome here. Farmers always want people at the farm. The right ones. We want y'all.

Caitlyn Scales: Oh yeah, Emily's gonna need some baby goat coaching. I'll pass it off to whoever is actually in charge, but I just wanted to stay on behalf of our group. It was really helpful, I think, to have that time and some ways to capture it that we can share later. I wish we had a little bit more time to talk about the second prompt, but I do think it was nice to have that time to talk through some of these things and come up with some, Chris had some fun ideas of ways that we can engage with each other and our community outside of like our regular our most frequently visited ideas. And so I think that I'm excited to hear how people came up with things for that. But I don't know what we have time for. Helena, do we want to just do the closing homework or do we have time to, I don't think we really have time to share.

Helena Williams: Yeah, it's too tight. But if I get the meeting notes from each breakout room and if you share those notes with anybody in your groups, they can add to that. So if there's anything additional that you wanted to say and didn't get an opportunity to w we wait about 48 hours to send the notes out. So you have 48 hours from right now to add any additional. Links registrations to events that you're hosting, anything like that. But also we do have that shared talky link that is in the agenda that you can share your events there as well. And it'll be posted on the One Rouge website as well as anything you send me and say, can you include this in the notes? You can send it to my email. I'm gonna put it right in right now and I'll make sure that he gets in.

Jan Ross: On the group that I was in, I very much appreciate your engagement assistance with taking notes and just help sharing your insights. Very appreciative. Heatland in the chat there's a request that you'd give a down-and-dirty of what we talked about in the equity access urban farmer group. So just broad strokes.

Caitlyn Scales: I can be really quick. We talked about. The agreement that there's lots of ways and opportunities right now that are happening from funding that could help with capacity building and support for producers, but also for access for at-risk communities and child nutrition programs. And so I think we had some broad sweeping strokes of kind of some of the things that were in motion there already that could be maybe leveraged to inform policy or identify gaps that we could be more proactive about as a coalition. So I think maybe some time between meetings to really hone in on the notes from both groups and try to identify some of that for a better summary for everybody of what's going on. There was also a shared broad concern around if the goal is to uplift farmers and local procurement opportunities from directly from producers and we have like food banks top box, if districts get involved, if we have all of our farmers' markets, so on and so forth, plus grocery stores do, how long do we need to get enough food and the type of food that can meet the regulations for some programs that food would be used for. And so I think there's some conversations there. and then we decided that we're gonna be in the in the youth birthday party, C Circuit instead of doing alongside doing things like planting trees and doing food distributions, also finding partner opportunities with folks like Baton Roots or going out to Kid and Family Night at sugar Farms and their brewery. To share the work that we're doing and engage in conversations and support local businesses that are also being advocates for the work. All while celebrating kindergartners turning five and six and know we're going to the trampoline bounce house and let's go out and teach 'em how to farm and paint a pot and plant a seed.

Jan Ross: We definitely know that Farmer Jones can't handle the young kids. He has two cute, very cute little kids.

Pepper Roussel: And on that note, we are gonna call it don't close. I did put it in the chat, Emily, only because I just found it out today, that you can actually walk a baby goat on a leash. Apparently, Farmer Jones sells them as pets. So put it right there in your hat, just you too could have a baby goat.

Chris Spalatin: Your husband would never have to cut the grass again.

Pepper Roussel: See, y'all are laughing. Exactly. It's happening. The amount of research I've done on baby goats is embarrassing. It's gonna happen there.

Casey Phillips: And I would just like to say that one of the coolest things that I've seen in a long time, the first time I went to Bonton Farms in the Bonton neighborhood in Dallas, five years ago at Sunset, every. At sunset every day every kid from the neighborhood comes to Bonton Farms and walks the goats along the levy of the dried-up Dallas River every day. And there are kids like seven different melting pots and they have bilingual-like instructors out there. And it's one of the cutest things you will ever see. And they've been doing it for the last 10 years and, So it really is it's pretty amazing. It's very therapeutic for the kids and for the adults alike. So y'all are onto something. I just don't wanna be in charge of the Go Brigade.




Allison Flynn

Caitlyn Scales

Caleb Wells

Chris Spalatin

Casey Phillips

Christian Engle - YMCA of the Capital Area

Darlene Rowland

Edy Addison-CAUW

Emily Chatelain

Farmer Jones

Helena Williams

Jan Ross - Wilson Foundation

LaTyra Ferry

Nicole Fitzgerald

Pepper Roussel - One Rouge

Rex Cabaniss

Simbrey Majors - CPEX

SK Groll

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