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Deputy Secretary Discusses Food Hubs, New Orleans Style

Nathan Cann volunteers at Hollygrove Market and Farm (HGMF) in exchange for a box of fresh produce valued at $25.00 in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.

Nathan Cann volunteers at Hollygrove Market and Farm (HGMF) in exchange for a box of fresh produce valued at $25.00 in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.

New Orleans is known for many special things, not the least of which is its food.

That’s why Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan chose the crescent city this week to release a new report on the importance of food hubs in America.  The report finds that there is an increasing demand for fresh, local foods and the popularity of food hubs is growing quickly.  In fact, there are well over 200 across the country now, including Hollygrove Farm and Market in downtown New Orleans.

On Tuesday, the Deputy Secretary was joined at the market by a number of dignitaries, including Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins, and world-renowned celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme for a cooking demonstration which featured fresh, ripe, local produce and a generous touch of the Chef’s famous Magic Seasoning Blends spices.  Fresh and healthy can be exciting and a treat for the taste buds. Local farmers attended, and lined up with the deputy secretary to sample Chef Paul’s creations.

 

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and American celebrity Chef Paul Prudhomme visit Hollygrove Farm in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Deputy Secretary Merrigan and Chef Prudhomme prepare a vegetable plate using local produce to share with community farmers to highlight the strength and resiliency of American agriculture and economic opportunity associated with local and regional food production. Deputy Secretary Merrigan announced a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that highlights new economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers by utilizing food hubs to aggregate their product and USDA’s commitment to increasing economic opportunities for local farmers and ranchers while expanding access to fresh, local foods. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and American celebrity Chef Paul Prudhomme visit Hollygrove Farm in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. Deputy Secretary Merrigan and Chef Prudhomme prepare a vegetable plate using local produce to share with community farmers to highlight the strength and resiliency of American agriculture and economic opportunity associated with local and regional food production. Deputy Secretary Merrigan announced a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that highlights new economic opportunities for farmers and ranchers by utilizing food hubs to aggregate their product and USDA’s commitment to increasing economic opportunities for local farmers and ranchers while expanding access to fresh, local foods. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.

Hollygrove Farm is a success story in itself.  In operation since 2009, it offers products from 20 growers in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Its mission includes providing fresh, locally produced food to residents of underserved New Orleans neighborhoods.

In all, it was a great day to celebrate the importance of local, healthy food in the American diet.

To find out more about USDA’s efforts through the Know Your Farmer, Know your food initiative, click here.  To see the compass map, click here.

Vegetables on display at Hollygrove Market and Farm (HGMF) in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.

Vegetables on display at Hollygrove Market and Farm (HGMF) in New Orleans, LA on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. USDA photo by Karen Lawson.

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