OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 118
This talk is a continuation of our ‘Healthy Food Access For All’ series with an update from the Capital Area Food Equity (CAFÉ) coalition co-chairs as well as an overview of the Louisiana Farm to School program, Seeds to Success, by special guest Carl Motsenbocker (Professor, LSU AgCenter). People have to eat in good times and in bad. Eating good food that is good for you is the ultimate goal. Nutrient dense, fresh food is the foundational to healthy diets. This is particularly crucial to the growing minds of school aged children. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to it. Addressing equity and access is one of the focuses the CAFÉ Coalition is championing.
Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!
Quick Links: Notes, Zoom Chat, Community Announcements
Jan Ross: Thank you. Thanks a lot. So as I was, considering what to really to present today, I went back to past notes and if you know me, I am always taking notes. So yep. Some have taken up the habit I could feel the anxiety building as I, was reading over some of those notes. So let's recreate what that picture was like back in that first quarter of 2020 everyone was sent home. We started having mask in front of us. We were all connecting by zoom calls, which for many of us didn't have any idea what zoom was. And we couldn't wash our hands enough, but what erupted [00:01:00] out of this was the inequities. And to the point that no one could have imagined. And out of, also out of this was. The beginning of the one Rouge community calls. Yay. But if you remember, our students were sent home and their, they were cut off from their primary source of breakfast and lunch that they depended on every day. The world didn't realize just how interconnected the social services were. And it really impacted our children, our families, our seniors. We quickly found that there was no stand, no clear standard of who was responsible for feeding our children. And the state truly had no idea of how, and they were just overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problem that was erupting the situation that emphasized food, was it really emphasized that food was at the center of so much. And it really brought out just how that impacted the cost of chronic health outcomes. So we instantly came together on our one Rouge calls, thanks to the walls project to make the connections, to help address the needs and to try and find resources as things were erupting. And out of this came the feeding coalition. The participants were anxious to find resources to make connections, to partner, to increase access. But also people wanted data on on the situation to really put their arms around what was happening, what the true needs were, where the gaps were to find food much less healthy food. So the programming of the coalition really focused on what to do to increase food access how to find, how to fund those needs. And then also gathering the data and advocating. The program or even before COVID we knew that our population was 14.4% food insecure. And the state was even greater at 16.1, but we also knew that our families that 37% of our families were in the Alice population. And with that, there was an additional 15% that were below the poverty line. And so these statistics have really worsened since that time. So we knew that we needed to face these these issues with long term solutions. And we really need to take our conversations, our weekly conversations into actions and we needed more structure for this coalition to really be effective. Over months and months of meeting, we took a hiatus and we went into some extensive planning and out of that created the one Rouge coalition. And that was focused as so much of our conversations on a weekly basis is focusing on those nine drivers of poverty. And last week on August, the third, we relaunched the coalition as cafe, very cute name, and I appreciate the creativity of others. I did not create the name, but it stands for Capital Area Food Equity coalition, and CAFE is carried out by a multitude of organizations and community based, just individuals that are passionate about food insecurity. So the the north star of the cafe is to end. Grandiose idea, but in hunger with sustainable and equitable access to three healthy meals a day every day, to teach people to grow and provide opportunities for local and sustainable production and sales at all levels promote the utilization of programs that already exist SNAP. But to ensure that people have, or who are eligible or registered to purchase the necessary healthy foods. And then also to promote collaboration because no one can do this alone. So we have to do this in collaborative effort. and that is working in CAFE but also as One Rouge Coalition so that we can truly move that needle on the system change that needs to take place. CAFE will work in three working groups, focused on access, urban farming and advocacy. So I will stop here. But my one call to action is please join the effort because no, like I had said before, no one person can do this. So pepper. Would you like to? That was perfect. Absolutely. Perfect.
Carl Motsenbocker: So I wanted to start, just by re reiterating or explaining what farm- to- school is. because sometimes there's confusion about that. And I know Casey sent out a PowerPoint presentation, so I'll let you look at that later. You can get some of the specifics about the program, but farm to school is a three legged stool. The first one we think of most people think of is gardening. So growing food in schools in gardens, maybe hydroponic systems in the classroom growing other ways in the classroom. The second is procurement. So bringing local food into the schools, into school meals as a snack or taste test in the classroom. And the third is the education piece. So we reach into the education sector curriculum promoting and delivering curriculum and opportunities for agriculture, a science food, health education. New nutrition, but also supporting teaching a biology in environmental science, but also maybe even teaching poet poetry or writing. So that's, that's our three legged stool. So a little bit information on how we started. We started by a resolution of the legislature in 2016 without any funding. And fortunately the Louisiana Department of Education approached me about starting this and supported funding for us. And you have the overviews, you can see the different programming, but I wanted to make sure you all knew about our really nice website www.seedstosuccess.com. So we set up and we have a lot of materials on the Ag Center web page, but we also utilize website. And we're really proud of this .One thing, we don't have a search function, so that is one this is coming probably six months. We're gonna be developing that and have that as part of that. And in terms of the website, if you go in there we have a Seeds to Grow section seeds to success.com/seeds to grow, which is for supporting school gardening and growing food in schools. So gardening basics, we have a growing guide, glossary of terms and concepts, plant hardiness zones. We have a really, a fairly detailed planting guide and then gardening resources. So from the horticultural side, if you know me, I'm a horticulturalist, I teach gardening and vegetable crops at LSU. So that was a pleasure for me to be able to develop these sustainable gardening materials that are not just for schools, but for home gardening and also for some of our small to medium scale farmers. And then under the Seeds to Know section under seats to success, if you go in there, you can see this is in information for teachers. So we have lessons, activities, videos, resources, such as books. So for teachers to use these materials in the classroom or outside the classroom and these are all linked to state curriculum standards. So that was one of the things is we've been making an effort so that if you see a exercise or an act activity, that it would be linked to a math standard or a science and from there and these are also being used. I know Patrick Tuck is there. We the 4-H around the state has picked up this. So we've been, basically our work is to support and provide resources and training. Statewide for anybody who would like these materials. And then we have two signature programs that are more horticulture re related. We have the Louisiana Harvest of the Month program and that we started with a pilot back in 2014, 2015. And that basically is to showcase locally grown foods in Louisiana schools. So yesterday we were down in Crowley we're doing a Harvest of the Month video on rice, which will be coming out in in the fall. That's part of what our effort is. So for each month for harvest of the month is to showcase with materials that we've developed, posters, coloring pages, newsletters, activities, and lessons, again, lessons linked to state standards and recipes. So Judy Myhand at LSU has worked with us on recipes in order to. In the school cafeteria or as a meal or taste test. And teaching food, education, food literacy, this is one of my passions is food literacy and food access. As we're gonna be talking about today with this, and I look at the farm to school program as part of our local food system. And as Pepper said, it actually, it goes into different areas in our food system and different aspects. And then seeding Louisiana is a fairly new program. We started in 20, 19, 20 20. We had a small grant from USDA farm to school [00:11:00] and that and with this program, we were able to give out seeds to every school in the state and then growing systems. So more, if you don't have a garden, you can't have garden space. Can you do things in the classroom? We actually gave out 1600 windows sill growing kits. So we gave seeds for two different crops, lesson plans, curriculum to go with this information on how to grow. And then after that, we gave out container gardens. I dunno if anybody's ever grown using earth boxes. So we gave out think we're up to like almost 450 or 500 earth boxes around the state to schools for them to use and mainly teachers. And then the other aspect I wanted to talk about was local procurement. Crystal has done a great job of developing. She has an 80, 80 page, local procurement guide for schools. So how do we link farmers with. The school nutrition directors in schools. And some of the successes we've had that I don't think many people know about this. For instance, east Baton Rouge Parish, after we did a pilot harvest of the month program, they switched from using canned sweet potatoes every three weeks to using whole bake potatoes, either sourcing from either Louisiana or Mississippi, as an example. And then in Lafayette Parish, they went several years ago to serving brown rice in every school in Lafayette Parish. Now more new nutritious item. So that's some of the things we've been working on. If anybody's interested in more in information, you're be, feel free to ask me, you can send me an email. We are having what we're calling our farm to school gathering on September 28th at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Every year, we have a annual conference and I will also post when I get done here, our last annual report, we're on a June, we're on a July 1st of June 30th cycle. So we're working on our annual report for the, for this past year, which is due in about a week. And that was a brief summary of my program. I would like to acknowledge our team members. We have a fairly extensive team and we have part-time people working with us. It's been a pleasure to have people in our team, but also the practitioners, the teachers, the school, new nutrition directors, the farmers that are directly involved in farm to school. I think it's a great opportunity. And thank you again for giving me the time to present this brief presentation.
Darlene Adams Roland: Good morning. I'm Darlene Adams, Roland. I'm the Executive Director of BREDA and I think everyone knows BREDA but if not just a quick rundown, we're a nonprofit here in Baton Rouge that works to support and sustain small farmers and also connect our community with fresh, healthy food. We also operate the Red Stick Farmer's Market absolutely appreciate the work that Carl and his team do. And that Carl has done for many years to work in sustainable food systems in Baton Rouge. Just wanted to share a little bit about BREDA's farm to school program that we've had running at Ryan elementary in North Baton Rouge for about six years. Now, we have edible gardens that we installed there and we have a mobile teaching kitchen that we bring on site and work intensely generally with third graders. We just find that age group works well and , we are also a fellow USDA farm to school grantee along with Carl and Department of Education to fund that work. It allowed us to expand to two additional schools last year in 2021. So that's a two year grant we have. And so we are now also at Dufrocq elementary and Westdale Heights Academic Magnet, and some of the reasons that we chose those schools, as we all know, I think community gardens can be difficult to maintain. And so we didn't have the capacity to take on all of the gardening and the nutrition and cooking pieces. So we partnered with schools that had some existing garden there so that we could augment then what they're garden by bringing in the cooking classes. So again like I said, we have a mobile teaching kitchen and it allows 30 students to actively participate alongside a chef or cooking instructor. So there's 30 cutting boards, 30. Safe chopping choppers, 30 little bowls. So we set it up in a circle around the mobile teaching kitchen. And so the kids get to participate in each part of the preparation of the food, which of course makes them more willing to try it and like it. And so I can report that even on brussel sprout day. I think the lowest score we got out of 10 was eight out of 10, which is pretty amazing that an eight out of 10 for brussel sprouts. And just for some context, we used the whole plant. So we would take the brussels sprout. They would chop 'em in half. They would use a few where they take off all of the leaves and we made brussel sprout chips. And then we also do a preparation where they're just cutting them in half and then we roast them in the oven. It, so they get to try 'em two ways. And so again, maybe they don't like it the first way, but they find that they like something about brussel sprouts and that's really, the goal is just to expose kids to fresh food. And, we heard from a lot of. They would come to the market, even after with the cards, we'd give out about the market and they'd wanna buy brussel sprouts and make brussel sprouts. And we even had one testimonial, which this is true. We did mushrooms one week and I wanna acknowledge also a Alia Ledford on the call today. She's our BREDA farm to school coordinator. And Alia brought mushroom blocks where you can grow your own mushrooms to the glass. So the kids got to watch the mushrooms grow week after week, and then they sniffed them off and made mushroom a mushroom pasta that day. So we have one child that one of the teachers said won't eat anything at lunch at all. And his mother was so happy because they came to the market and bought their own mushroom blocks and are started. She said, they're now mushroom farmers at home. So it's very rewarding farm to school work because you get to see the return on investment pretty quickly. You get to hear those testimonials from students, teachers, and parents, and another part of it that we do is we bring so, so we work with one class intensely, like I said, but we also wanted to be able to reach all the kids in the school in some way. And from a capacity point standpoint, it's just difficult. So what we do is once a year have a farm to school, field day at the school we set, it's an onsite field trip where we set up three stations. We start off where they get a little tote bag. We teach 'em, a little quick overview about what our local foods, what grows in Louisiana, what are our growing seasons? Then they go on and we set up a mini farmer's market for 'em. So we give them wooden tokens. Like people can shop with it, all our markets and they get to choose something off the table, put it in their bag. And then they go on to a food sampling station. So they get different components of the farmer's market experience. And we do that for all students. It's a day long. We're there for about, six hours and every child gets to come through that experience. You have any, I don't wanna put her on the spot, but do you have anything you'd like to share?
Alia Ledford: I started in January the spring semester and especially with COVID these kids have really, lost a lot of opportunities that your average first, second, third grader would be getting with the interruptions. And I think it's not only important to reengage them that into education, but the other aspect of that, which we really lack here in Louisiana is the food education or understanding where food comes from, how you can feed yourself and keep yourself healthy. And it's been really great to get back into the schools. We've had to try to negotiate some of the restrictions, but I look forward to this coming semester, as things have. Really started opening back up and being able to really get in there on a more regular basis and especially on the garden days [00:19:00] and really be tying from the field to the mobile teaching kitchen, like Darlene said, it's very rewarding.
Darlene Adams Roland: And just real quick, also wanna add to Jan talking about cafe. I wasn't able to be at the first one, but I know Ali and Lisa were there were excited to be a part of that. And if anybody didn't hear, we did successfully pass the statewide snap match for farmers' markets. I know I talked about that. Several times in this meeting in the past, but in the last legislative session there was $889,000 allocated a next year's budget. So that does allow every farmer's market in Louisiana that is interested and wants to accept snap to then match it at farmer's farmers' markets. So really great for local farmers and for families. We do have an existing match up to $15. This will probably lift that cap and make it I can't say how much yet it might even be unlimited to be honest, but we'll be a part of a [00:20:00] statewide steering committee. That's going to also help these markets that don't accept snap first, get certified to accept the snap as the first hurdle which is difficult. So we're really excited about that and all the partners that help make that happen and that work was funded through voices for healthy kids grants. So shout out to our AHA friends So that's all.And good morning everyone. We, Three O'clock Project, just a quick update on what we're doing. And a note that we feel like we're emerging from the fog of the past two years. This is the first school year, that started normal, with everybody back in. So that's exciting. And I think we're really excited to get back to a little bit of normal programming on our end. Although I'm saying that on the cusp of hurricane season, and I just knocked on wood because at any moment we're at risk of being thrown into not normal, but we are launching all of our after school meal programs as we're wrapping up summer, I think last week concluded all of our summer feeding and we've [00:21:00] got some really cool partnerships this school year with the YMCA and a few others that are launching after school programs. So it's exciting to see that's coming back. As we all know, after school programs really couldn't operate in their maximum capacity. Thanks to COVID for the past two years. We're also working on some potential policy and advocacy with just what this conversation has been about, of healthier foods. Less processed foods, less sugar, right? Let's get our kids eating right in our schools and where they are getting their main nutrition. So that's our quick update. And then I actually had a question for Carl we're big advocates of farm to school, and we love all of the programs that you guys have put together the harvest of the month. If you haven't checked that out, anyone else on the call, they make some amazing monthly posters and materials and promotion of buying local. And it's really awesome. And a lot of work goes into it. My question is one point and then a question, right? One is, [00:22:00] are you tracking or is there a good way to track how many schools or what percentage of schools are participating in programs and or buying local is one. And then two I'm on those on I'm on Mac Williams emails who he's part of our the Louisiana Department of Ag and Forest Street on the Food Distribution Program. So USDA commodities, and it was just announced due to supply chain issues that nationally, they're not going to get as many as much food as was planned for the USDA commodity program. And I know EBR likely depends heavily on that. And it struck me because it said that 31 trucks of canned fruit have been canceled for Louisiana. So that's a truck of canned pairs, fruit mix, there's little fruit cups, 20 trucks of sliced peaches. And I saw. Why do we even need canned fruit when we live, where [00:23:00] we live, why aren't we like I welcome that problem. Let's rise to that problem. How can we rise to that problem? Carl?
Carl Motsenbocker: Oh, that's a tough question. So for me, as somebody working in agriculture, we don't have enough farmers. The farmers' markets don't have enough farmers. We could have another a hundred farmers and it's also an issue with scale, but, so with the farm to school program with me, it's always been about the easiest is to do harvest of the month, do a taste test, try to get certain commodities in, like we are gonna be hopefully getting more local rices. That's designated as local rice into our schools because most of the rices. It's sent to Arkansas or up north somewhere where it's processed and then come sent back to us. So your question of that, we and we met with Matt. There's a grant that LDA F is gonna be getting, it's like 4.5 million that they're gonna be targeting certain schools for local. And so that is an opportunity. And I've actually been gone most of the summer traveling and I haven't really been kept up with it. But Crystal Bessie is the best person to ask about the procurement side and also Celeste, who used to be the school, new nutrition director in LA Lafayette. They can fill you in, but just in general, for us in this state, we do have a lot of opportunities for growing more food. We need to increase demand, and we don't have enough farmers like we, we need more citrus farmers. Actually our sweet potato industry. Since I've gotten here. Has declined by 75%. We've gone from 30,000 acres to 7,000 acres. That's why we're getting a lot of sweet potatoes from Mississippi. Mississippi has been expanding and nobody can really tell me why this is happening in our state.
Darlene Adams Roland: So I let echo what Carl says. He's absolutely right. There's just not enough farmers to meet the demand. And he touched on a USDA grant coming down for farm to school for local procurement, but there is also a grant that was just issued nationally from USDEA to department of ag here, all department of bags, really, but it is blowing through Louisiana Department of Ag for local procurement, specifically to assist socially disadvantaged farmers. It's an interesting situation. It's wonderful because it's a good amount of money. It's 5 million, I think. But as Carl said, there's not even enough farmers to really adequately, keep the farmers market going.year round, sometimes, Louisiana's unique in that we have year round growing seasons and we have our farmer's market year round, but it doesn't mean that it's just booming year round. Most places around the country shut down their markets and just have a seasonal market, but we attempt to keep ours going year round. So there's a lot of opportunities, but even with this, it's like it's a two year grant to help these farmers ramp up. But what happens after two years? So that's something that we're looking at with other partners across the state, our counterparts and New Orleans and Shreveport that do the same type of work and operate markets. So there's a lot of good opportunities, but I think the sustainable part. And just scale, as he mentioned, being able to, once you get up to try to sell to an institution, it's a whole different ballgame, there's different regulations and rules around that. There's a lot of hurdles, but I think there's a lot of opportunity too with our year round growing season capability. And but of course, things like access to land, price of land for new farmers, things like that of course are big impediments to people that even do want to grow in the first place. So I don't know if that adds any additional context.
Casey Phillips: Yeah. And yeah, they The that I would like to schedule a little, we're calling it in cafe little task force, right? So that the working groups keep their structure, but when the issues pop up or opportunities pop up, there's an agile task force. So Darlene, Carl, anybody that wants to be a part of it. I would really like to deep dive on this conversation in the CAFE setting together, as well as talk about inside of schools, vertical farming, indoor vertical farming to ensure year round grow and on top of farmers. And that's another conversation for another time, but I would just like to welcome the collaboration. So a couple of things I know I had actually had a conversation with with Carl and Emily earlier in the pandemic about the good food purchasing program. I think I've put it in the chat as well. But it's also about how you start reframing some of these questions and issues that were happening. So when you're talking about the access and understanding local and regional food systems, right? The idea of good food purchasing in the New York context is a lot to do with encouraging large institutions, such as cities to look at the enormous strength of regional food systems and using them to have economic connections, procuring them from local institutions, local farmers, so that the money stays within the local economy. And also you start encouraging local nutrition to grow as well. And other states have had this to different extents and different successes. I think Carl and Emily know more about the constraints for some of those things as well. A lot of it has to do with, traditional bureaucracy, labor issues. Some of it has to do with Food service and storage and things like that. But sometimes our bureaucracies can't get outta their own way. And we all know that. So that was one point. I know I mentioned the other one was and I'm sure Carl and Emily could talk to more of that. We did have some really great insights during our last CAFE session that I wish Danny was here to talk a little bit more about the policy stuff, because he really had some new things that came out from the previous legislation session. And what's what to be advocated for through the next six to 12 months. And then yeah, I think it's great that we are having these conversations, but let's also. I think a lot of us tried to romanticize the life and the day of being a farmer. And I did definitely put their United Farm Workers Union there and understand, just look at the Twitter and see like the, who is actually getting your food and the actual work that they have to do, especially in this heat when they have to get there. And they travel have some great documentaries as always to share with you. But it's important to know the difference between the farms, the farmers and the actual agricultural labor. And understand those differences between all of that to really understand why certain things are the way they are. And yes, we like to have our farmers' markets and yes, we like to have all those great things, but if we want to pay the real cost versus the price that we actually pay, that would be a very stark difference.
Darlene Adams Roland: I agree, Manny and I would also add that the cost of farming has skyrocketed exponentially with all other costs and supply chain and fertilizer. They're just triple the cost. They were. Even at the market, a lot of our farmers are keeping their prices the same and just eating the difference to, to just keep going. So I think that's another concern as well is just the rising cost of food. And farmer's markets do get a bad wrap sometimes for price, but it really depends on the product. Sometimes it's actually cheaper at the market. Things like bell peppers and cucumbers and things like that. But of course meat is really, for sure, more expensive just again, because the cost associated with that. But yeah. All good. And as Carl saying in there, I would echo that too. Most farm labor is now what's called HQA labor, which is a USDA program to bring in agricultural workers to work on the farm because you really just don't have the labor. And part of that program is that they have to advertise for local labor before they can hire labor from other countries. So there is a lot of, there's a lot to unpack and all these issues, but we are also part of a new coalition called LSAC. It's Louisiana Small Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. And it's again, similar nonprofits across the state trying to address some of these issues related to small.
Pepper Roussel: Thank y'all so much. Manny, I am not accepting your invitation to open Pandora's box this morning, but I will extend invitation to everybody on the call to join cafe to hear more and deeper discussions around policy because that's where a lot of the answers to your questions are. What does it look like for farmers to gain and keep land? What does it look like for farm workers to actually get paid for their labor? What does it look like to get affordable and nutrient dense food that is not laden with pesticides, that are being masked as fertilizers to your table. And what does that cost? Commercial farming is not necessarily the same as local farming. The folks who are going to farmer's markets are invested in many ways around not just the food itself, but the community. If you're paying a dollar 50 for a bell pepper versus 89 cents, what is the actual difference in what you're consuming is something that you really need to consider all questions that get answered at CAFE meetings. Now that I've given the shameless plug, I would do wanna get to some of the questions that are in the chat, not necessarily those that I may have. So one of the first that got an asked really early on, and we're gonna make sure to move through this as efficiently as possible is from Reverend Anderson and it's about food insecurity and food deserts,
Rev. Anderson: so one of the things that I have experienced with is when my kids were younger and we were in California, is that we went to what was called a 360 school and a 360 school said that outside of the school hours, that building reverts back to community resources. And so things like communal events and communal cooking demonstrations, just all sorts of things. It literally became a gathering point, but it was also meant to be a walking gathering point. Not a place you had to get in a car or drive and. One of my questions. And I saw what Emily wrote is, it always goes back for me about two things voting and budgets of moral documents. That one of the things for me that these kind of conversations open themselves up to is how much of this is about public safety. When people know their neighbors, when people are engaged, when people have skills, when people are able to access, help, and cooking and food fits all those bills, to me, especially in Louisiana, if you can't gather enemies in any other room, you can gather 'em to eat and meat and party, basically. And I just thought one of the things that I got out of this conversation beside the fact that yeah, I'm team Casey on the brussel sprout, I'm just saying that is the idea that how do we get our policymaker to pivot and start including these kind of conversations when we talk about public safety and how do we get our siloed systems, whether it's the education system to start recognizing that there's just so many win-wins to opening the door. And so I just wanted to give one little expansion or something I asked about when I talked about community kitchens, I didn't necessarily mean everybody gets to cook. I meant the whole concept of demonstrations and being able to show people what they can do with what's available in their community. So I, I don't know if Emily, if the answer is still the same, but I did wanna lift that up, that I've seen that model work and I've seen it make communities safer when people are able to gather and build out on the assets of their community. And I think food is just such a perfect way to get there.
Emily Chatelain: I'll say that, that sounds beautiful. And I actually think that would be allowed, I don't see LDH or regulations stopping that from happening of opening up your kitchen and having demonstrations or cooking lessons, et cetera, as [00:35:00] long as everybody write work, closed toed shoes and hair nets, Y yada, I see that being more of a school district, allowing it, if it's EBR you're talking about or a charter school, it would just be up to that school saying yes or no, just to help answer
Rev. Anderson: Emily. Can I ask a follow up question? I know we have multiple school districts. Is there a way to do a cooperative endeavor agreement? Where on a program, like a food partnership kind of thing. they could all sign off to it, as opposed to trying to just negotiate with each one individually. I just wondered about that.
Emily Chatelain: So you've got EBR, right? So every traditional public school falls under the EBR school board. And then in, within Baton Rouge, you've got charter schools who have their own board. Some of them are approved by EDR and that is their authorizer, right? Not to get complicated to Kevin's probably giving [00:36:00] me side eyes and then some are directly run operated by their own right. Jurisdictions board by the state. So yes, that sounds like it could be done in organizations like New Schools for Baton Rouge could even probably help bring some of these charters together. Charter schools have a lot more flexibility, right? Since they're they just have a smaller board and right. Fewer people to, to have to check off on things. So that could be a great place to start is with a pilot, in a ch in a local charter school. I think that would be a great idea for a pilot program.
Pepper Roussel: So thank you that I think is one of the reasons that we've got the one Rouge coalition so that we can actually have conversations across sectors and categories. And so this is certainly something that we can have CAFE and the education coalition discuss and try to figure out where where it is that there might be a little bit of leeway and what it is that we can do. And speaking of finding out things, which was a really bad segue, but I did it anyway. There's a, there are a series of questions in the chat there about the farmers themselves. So I wanna ask whether any one of our panelists knows whether they're, why do we not have enough actual farmers in the state of Louisiana? And I'm adding adlibbing to these questions, especially as we have two land grant, agricultural universities who graduate people every year, how does this happen?
Carl Motsenbocker: I guess first. Yeah. So for the past four years, we had a beginning farmer training program that was U S D a funded. We did not receive any funding from my institution, but I was fortunate to get a grant. And we were training farmers. We trained on every 16 farmers in New Orleans, Lafayette Baton Rouge. So traditionally I'm seeing most of the young farmers that are sustainable, small scale do not come from farm from traditional farm families. Farmers are not being passed out. I think Manny had mentioned, somebody had mentioned that in the chat that we don't have that tradition, so they have to find other resources. And I, to me, it seems like access to land is really key here. Anecdotally prices of land here in Louisiana are higher than they are in. Mississippi. So there's a farm family. I know that we're renting in Hammond and they moved to Mississippi. They still are sourcing markets in New Orleans, for instance. So we and the traditional, and I'm going to use the word industrial ag, which gives some of my colleagues heartburn. And I would say that we don't really grow food. Most of what we grow in the state is not food. We raise a lot of Corning soy that's processed, fed to animals. It's not human food, so we need to reinvent our food system and Mandy had alluded to this regional and local food systems. And so that's one of the things we've been trying to the conundrum is we need a lot of citrus, but we have a lot of backyard citrus farmers. So how do [00:39:00] we get that to the market? So we need to grow up at different levels, small, medium, and large scale farms. And we need to have programs to support that. And unfortunately, even at Southern, I can speak for a brethren and sisters at Southern. They don't have the resources either. They're relying on USDA funding for a lot of their professors either. So yeah, we need people that are, for the farm to school program, we don't get any money from the state of Louisiana. It's all USDA grant funded without that funding, we would not have that program for instance.
Darlene Adams Roland: Yeah. Echo what Carl said. I think. Access to land is number one, a land is so expensive. You look at how hard it is for people just to buy a primary residence to live in. So then when you have to think about buying land to grow food on and I think though that you can really grow a lot on a little bit of land and that's something we've talked about a lot internally as ways to try to find unique partnerships to get land that is not in use perhaps by developers. There's a couple examples of this that could maybe be paired up with a young farmer who has that passion and zest to farm to get it into production, using some of these methods where you can do really high yield on small amounts of land, but for sure land is the biggest impediment. I think also somebody maybe that is interested in agriculture, there's jobs in agriculture that pay a lot more money than being a small farmer pays. I think a lot of times that can lure people, in that direction as well. It's not like farming provides benefits and a retirement plan, yeah, and just in uncertainty as well for small farming, you get a hurricane in south Louisiana that wipes out your whole at Carl said that the whole system is set up to support large scale farming, not only through the farm bill, crop insurance for large crops and things that might help protect you during some environmental [00:41:00] events or natural disasters. It's just a whole different ball game. When you look at it from a large scale to a small scale. So there's a lot of risk involved as well.
Pepper Roussel: Absolutely. There are so many barriers to entry. And even to, to remaining as a farmer, I am not a farmer. I do not come from farm people. I am a fan of food, and I know that's where farms is where food comes from. Large, mostly speaking. There, I wanna stay with this topic before I switch to what I really wanna know about those who are opposed to tiny cavages.. There's some questions about adjudicated properties. This may be a deeper conversation than we have time for. Only because I know a lot of the laws and policies around how it is that you need to ship property and where you can grow and what you can grow and what you can do with it. But what are the proper, what are the possibilities of maybe doing a micro farm system within the city limits that would leverage blighted or demolition by dereliction sort of properties. And is that something that those of us who are, in these spaces, do we think that's a sustainable model?
Manny Patole: So I'll pick up on what Carl said and this is not gonna be a very popular comment. And this is one of those things where Casey and I, of course also disagree on. Coming from a more urban environment and understanding populations and densities. I am of the school of thought that although urban ag is interesting, I think it's fetishized and I don't think it is a solution for all of our food needs for urban environments. I'm not saying agricultural needs, I'm saying food needs. There's a reason why there's, big ag and things like that because of the large amount of volumes and consumption patterns we have. And then there's also the things of like, when you're looking at it, this from to Casey's point about jobs, agricultural economics and looking at, and, community preferences around foods and things like that, sweet potatoes are thing. Two years from now, who knows what it's gonna be. Remember, you have quinoa, you have kale, you have Asai, everyone tries to then start growing it in the us. And it doesn't grow in the us because it's just not the type of climate and type of soil in other environments. But when we're looking at this, yes, a lot of these other things where you're looking at hydro aquaponics and stuff like that. Yes, you can do it more efficiently, but we also don't understand the total cost of owner. So when you're looking at land you also have to look at the inputs of energy. You have to look at the inputs of labor. You have to look at the inputs of other costs like soil, right? No one ever talks about soil health. One of the things they did learn from my fraternity days is that if your soil is not healthy and it's not able to replace USS, why we have the dust bowl, right? Why things start blowing away and we don't have those minerals and why things start to not grow and why animals don't flourish as well. So it's a very large thing when people just think, oh, it's just, you put a couple of seeds in the ground and water it. And hopefully something pops out there is science and technology that goes behind that, that has inspired [00:44:00] a world of things. I always use the Archimedes screw as one of those things in my engineering class. And how that from a farming perspective, how that has inspired so many other things like the idea of offshore drilling, but I won't go that far down. No, that rabbit hole. Carl. Yeah. Okay.
Pat LeDuff: I'd like to make a comment on that as well. For just about 20 years, we've actually one of the few groups that's, that started that pocket park and pocket garden model and it's hard work. Okay. And so of all the, even though it's a great idea and sure we need as much help as we can with all this dilapidated property, but, and then you get the house torn down. Do you want the dilapidated house or the overgrown lot? So it, it will resolve that the overgrown lot it can be done by nonprofits because they just do it. Right. But the city, nor the state we having so much problem now trying to identify the owners of the [00:45:00] property. I doubt if the city would even touch that because we can't even, we can't even resolve the problem to try to get it to someone who wants to build a house on it. But the pocket park model does work and the gardening part getting commitment to keep it going trying to get sprinkler systems and keep it watered. And I just don't think it's it from my experience, it has not yielded. It has not yielded enough vegetables for the trouble we're going through, but it has been great experience for the children, great experience for the family. We incorporated with our cooking classes. And so 100% effective in that way. But for what we produce. 15 years plus, I don't think it's been working and to,
Manny Patole: to pat point and some other things, sorry, I just wanna mention one thing. I actually had a group of students this year who was doing mapping agriculture in New York city. And they have proved through data analytics that urban farming [00:46:00] community gardens and such does not cause displacement or gentrification. So that paper should be forthcoming by the end of this year. But to the whole point of this idea that it displaces communities and raises property values. It actually compliments the local community. So it doesn't necessarily provide the food, but it does provide community. So just keep that client.
Pat LeDuff: But I did wanna say that the fruit has not yielded, but one day whether we see it or not, because the trees are still there and we're still nourish the trees we've done. The SAS we've done the pears the lemons, the great fruits have not yielded anything. In the 15 years. And but one day people will be able to just pass by and we'll have all the food we need.
Pepper Roussel: That would be lovely. Last question for me anyway. And if you have any questions, please put them in the chat. Raise your hand, let me know that you wanna ask something to our panelists today and our informal panelists today. We talked a lot about food access and getting a farm to school and getting children involved [00:47:00] and expanding their pallets and learning more about where food comes from, how it's cooked and what it tastes like. Are there any programs in Baton Rouge for adults who would have to actually be the ones to buy the food for the children to continue to eat at home? Maybe to, is it part of a market match or a snap program, or just say in general, tasting food at the farmer's market? Do we have anything that allows adults that same privilege as we're trying to get to children? And I absolutely ask this in order to encourage all team tiny cabbage.
08:31:13 From HAWF Team to Everyone:
I'm having audio issues
08:31:48 From Manny to Everyone:
I was having audio issues too…
08:32:07 From Manny to Everyone:
Also, great to have two meetings with Walls project folks this week :-)
08:33:00 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:
Yes indeed Manny Fresh!
08:34:25 From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone:
Same Manny! ❤️
08:39:34 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:
I love the name change!
08:40:03 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone:
08:40:04 From Manny to Everyone:
Should have recorded that
08:40:11 From Ebony Starks-Wilson Foundation to Everyone:
08:40:29 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
I agree Manny!
08:40:37 From Helena Williams to Everyone:
Let us know if you're interested in joining! https://orcapp.paperform.co/
08:40:40 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone:
Will the meetings become reoccurring? I only have the reconvening on my calendar.
08:43:20 From Carl Motsenbocker to Everyone:
08:44:24 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
I wonder if there has been any thought to using our schools as community kitchens during out of school hours and integrating the teaching of healthy food preparation with encouraging community engagement with addressing food insecurity in food deserts?
08:44:47 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:
YES! I love that idea Rev. Anderson
08:45:05 From Manny to Everyone:
The good food purchasing concept is a great program that is picking up support across the country. Parking lot Q: what are some of the (perceived) issues preventing programs like this from being scaled up?
08:45:06 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:
We have also been looking into do a healthy food preparation and grocery budgeting for our current partners
08:45:20 From Adonica Pelichet Duggan to Everyone:
That’s a great idea. Schools need to be viewed as community assets
08:45:58 From Manny to Everyone:
@Rev, there are some up here that have done it. The restrictions up here are related to liability and union shops.
08:47:57 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone:
Our Dept of Health will prevent school kitchen from being used as a community kitchen, but I am always in support of pushing those walls down
08:48:07 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
I would love to see us pick a school that is both near an elementary school and near a high senior population which would allow that powerful component of connecting generations which I believe will help public safety. When you don't know your neighbors it is hard to feel safe in your environment.
08:48:15 From Flitcher R. Bell to Everyone:
You're so right @Adonica! Schools and the access are very valuable to stability and assistance in many homes!
08:48:54 From Manny to Everyone:
FYI - NYC Food Policy Center (Through Hunter College) has a great weekly newsletter about nationwide food policy issues ranging from labor to school lunch - https://www.nycfoodpolicy.org/
08:48:54 From One Rouge to Everyone:
CANNED sweet potatoes????
08:49:03 From Casey Phillips to Everyone:
If you have questions for Jan and CAFÉ co-chairs or learn how to get involved in the Food Equity work please drop it in the chat. Also if anyone has questions for Carl on his program please do the same.
08:49:08 From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone:
08:49:09 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:
@emily do they feel the same way about home economics kitchens as they do the school cafeteria? could be a way around that for schools who have separate student kitchens
08:49:54 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone:
Appreciate you pointing that out, Emily…unfortunate right on target and worthy of some advocacy
08:50:14 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone:
Good question! I'm not sure. LDH sometimes has no rules and then all the rules...
08:50:26 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone:
08:50:42 From Helena Williams to Everyone:
I would think that if everyone who goes into a kitchen having a Serv-Safe certification would constitute enough safety to allow for entry... curious about details of the current regulations in schools
08:50:44 From Manny to Everyone:
Job Opportunity (Carl and Pat Tuck) Organic Farmers Association looking for a program coordinator - https://organicfarmersassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Equity-Project-Manager-2.pdf
08:53:38 From One Rouge to Everyone:
i love tiny cabbages!
08:54:42 From Manny to Everyone:
Brussels get a bad rap... I blame the British…
08:55:41 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
Manny Brussel Sprouts earned that rep! LOL!
08:56:46 From Samantha Morgan to Everyone:
My buddy from Futures Fund!!!!
08:56:50 From Carl Motsenbocker to Everyone:
Brussel sprouts are my favorite. I think it is important how they are cooked.
08:56:57 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone:
Thanks Manny for the job posting resource!
08:57:42 From Manny to Everyone:
I think there is space for a Little Sprouts Brussel Sprouts cooking competition fundraiser ;-)
08:58:22 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
08:58:33 From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone:
08:58:40 From Carl Motsenbocker to Everyone:
Here is an example of our Harvest of the Month videos that are targeted to children and educational activities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93un0ur0Vsk
08:58:59 From Helena Williams to Everyone:
Has anyone gotten to use SNAP for purchase of seeds or plants? I know there is inclusion for that but the process is hard to understand.
08:59:00 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:
08:59:00 From Alfredo Cruz to Everyone:
Please explain how the match works for SNAP. thank!
09:00:07 From Darlene A. Rowland-BREADA to Everyone:
09:01:05 From Carrie Patterson (she/her) to Everyone:
I have to hop off, but I appreciate all of the information shared about the current work being done here. Happy Friday everyone!
09:01:28 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone:
Was SO good to see 3OP at the YMCA during family time there this summer :)
09:01:49 From Darlene A. Rowland-BREADA to Everyone:
Choose the Farm to School video. Also, shameless plug--Please subscribe to our new YouTube Channel then message us your contact info. We need to get to 100 subscribers before we can get our unique url! We are doing a drawing for $50 in market tokens to encourgae people! Thanks so much.
09:02:12 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:
@darlene what do you want us to message you on? I
09:02:32 From Alexis Jones - Habitat for Humanity to Everyone:
On YT or email?
09:03:21 From Manny to Everyone:
https://www.communityfoodadvocatesnyc.org/good-food-purchasing or this: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/foodpolicy/reports-and-data/food-forward.page
09:03:24 From Darlene A. Rowland-BREADA to Everyone:
Alfredo, anyone with a SNAP card can come to our main tent and let us know how much they want to swipe their card for. We swipe it, and then match that same amount. I.e. They swipe for $15, and we issue $30 in tokens.
09:03:59 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
I think this topic is so critical to the discussion of public safety. You might be surprised to discover how much minor theft is about food insecurity.
09:04:00 From Manny to Everyone:
Also, this about United Farm Workers: https://ufw.org/
09:04:08 From Darlene A. Rowland-BREADA to Everyone:
Message to the Red Stick Farmers Market FB or Instagram page or to firstname.lastname@example.org
09:04:19 From Manny to Everyone:
Si Se Puede - https://twitter.com/UFWupdates?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor
09:04:47 From One Rouge to Everyone:
@rev people dont' understand that most crime in loiusiana is income based. people have to eat in good times and in bad
09:05:16 From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone:
What are they growing instead? Cattle/livestock feed?
09:06:09 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
How does our cancer alley issues impact community gardening opportunities?
09:06:13 From Flitcher R. Bell to Everyone:
Is there not enough actual farmers? Or not enough land acreage for crops??
09:06:13 From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone:
Building new neighborhoods and leading to solar companies
09:06:15 From Morgan Udoh (She/Her/They) to Everyone:
Are they leaving the industry altogether or growing feed crops?
09:06:40 From Patrisha’s iPhone to Everyone:
09:06:47 From Manny to Everyone:
Look up the issues from United Farm Workers to understand farms, farmers and labor issues
09:06:53 From Helena Williams to Everyone:
Is procuring loans for farmers better? worse?
09:07:15 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone:
All so interesting - and important to know all these sides of the issues
09:07:44 From Rev. Alexis Anderson to Everyone:
Very important topic
09:07:53 From Verna Bradley-Jackson to Everyone:
Farming at one time was passed down from generation to the next, but it’s not happening anymore.