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7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 13 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

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Ashe Cultural Arts…

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Baby Arts Play! at…

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City Park Pumpkin…

Oct 13 - 25, 2015
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Clyde & Iggy

Oct 13 - Dec 31, 2015
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Collective Media…

Oct 13 - 25, 2015
Join Longue Vue for the first opening of its three-part "Collective… more

Maple Leaf Bar…

Oct 13, 2015 - Sep 27, 2016
Join us for live entertainment featuring the Grammy Award winning ReBirth Brass… more

Newcomb Art Museum of…

Oct 13, 2015 - Jan 03, 2016
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The Cinderella…

Oct 13 - 27, 2015
Donations of costume jewelry, girls' princess dresses and teen prom dresses… more

The Foundation…

Oct 13 - 30, 2015
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The Historic New…

Oct 13, 2015 - Jan 09, 2016
The Historic New Orleans Collection marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane… more

The Photography of…

Oct 13, 2015 - Mar 01, 2016
The Photography of Modernist Cuisine: The Exhibition, a collection of over 50… more

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Oct 13 - Dec 20, 2015
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Noontime Talk with…

Oct 14 - 14, 2015
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The Maison Presents -…

Oct 14, 2015 - Dec 28, 2016
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Fats Domino & Dave…

Oct 15 - Dec 27, 2015
Join us at the Carver Theater for a Music Tribute honoring Legendary Musicians… more

Jazz in the Park

Oct 15 - 29, 2015
Jazz in the Park returns for eight straight weeks this fall,  with a… more

New Orleans Film…

Oct 15 - 22, 2015
Celebrating its 26th anniversary this year, the Oscar®-qualifying New… more

New Orleans Saints vs…

Oct 15 - 15, 2015
New Orleans Saints vs the Atlanta Falcons. more

7th Annual Pumpkin…

Oct 13 - 31, 2015
The Lutcher/Gramercy Lions Club presents its 7th Annual Pumpkin Patch at the… more

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Announces Partnership to Build Innovative Food and Farming Center On Site

Media Contact:
Marianne Cufone, Executive Director
Recirculating Farms Coalition
Phone: 813.785.8386

Sanjay Kharod, Executive Director
New Orleans Food and Farm Network:
Phone: 504.483.6967

MCCNO Communications Department
Phone: 504.582.3027

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Announces Partnership to Build Innovative Food and Farming Center On Site

In honor of National Food Day, a time to champion affordable, healthy and sustainable food, the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center announced a partnership with the Recirculating Farms Coalition and the New Orleans Food and Farm Network to create a urban food and farming center on 2.5 acres of land owned by the Convention Center, at the corner of Melpomene Street and Tchoupitoulas. The new center, named Growing Local NOLA, will be a hub for research, education, training, and community interaction on growing, marketing, and preparing healthy, fresh food.

"We are thrilled to host the new food and farm center on our site," said Bob Johnson, president/general manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. "This is an incredibly meaningful project that will showcase cutting edge urban farming methods and provide unique classes and activities for our community, as well as convention attendees and others visiting from all around the world."

The core of the new center is to be an innovative water-based recirculating farm that uses hydroponics - growing plants in nutrient-rich constantly recycled water - and aquaponics - raising fish and plants together in one closed-loop system. Both methods are ideal for cities because they can grow a wide range of plants and fish on rooftops, or on oddly shaped or even paved lots, producing high yields in a small amount of space. The center will also have a community garden - with raised soil beds and fruit trees - a classroom, teaching kitchen, events space, and eventually, an on-site café serving farm to table local fare.

"This center will be a catalyst for personal and community farms and local food here in New Orleans and beyond," said Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition.

While New Orleans is famous for its unique cuisine, fresh healthy food is not always accessible and affordable for everyone. Louisiana has the second highest obesity rate in the country and with just over 20 grocery stores to serve more than 350,000 residents, New Orleans is one of the worst food deserts. The new center will help to change this.

The center's farm will source fresh food to local distributors, restaurants and grocers, as well as direct to consumers through an on-site farmers' market. It will also offer a wide range of gardening, farming, and farm-to-table cooking classes, programs for youth and seniors, and demonstrations, lectures, and presentations. The center will host special events too, such as harvest dinners and private parties, at its new Convention Center space.

Sanjay Kharod, Executive Director of the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, explained, "This center is all about inspiring people to grow healthy fresh food for themselves and for sale at affordable prices to their neighbors and communities, creating green jobs and preparing delicious, nutritious meals."

Growing Local NOLA will be built using grants from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and the Claneil Foundation. In addition to funding, the project has drawn much praise, enthusiasm and in-kind support.

"The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry is excited about the creation of this food and farming center," said Commissioner Mike Strain. "We plan to work collaboratively with the Recirculating Farms Coalition, New Orleans Food and Farm Network and Convention Center on this important project."

The Tulane City Center and the Louisiana State University (LSU) Urban Landscape Lab are both providing in-kind support by designing a masterplan for the food and farm center. Tulane Assistant Professor of Architecture Tiffany Lin and LSU Professor of Landscape Architecture Elizabeth Mossop are leading the project.

Lin said, "Our experienced professional team is working collaboratively to showcase the inspiring green mission of this urban farm. By using recycled materials and renewable energy sources, we hope to create an innovative design solution that is natural, efficient and welcoming."

"This Center is an amazing collaborative effort that will support sustainable urban farming and healthy eating and lifestyles," Cufone said.

Plans for a groundbreaking ceremony are underway and expected to be announced in the coming weeks.