(NEW ORLEANS) – On August 1, marketumbrella.org will unofficially graduate from Loyola University New Orleans as it spins-off to independent status. To commemorate the occasion, Loyola and marketumbrella.org will host a special graduation ceremony on Tuesday, July 8 at the Crescent City Farmers Market at 200 Broadway St. at 10 a.m.
The public is invited to attend the celebration which will feature a brass duo, refreshing local watermelon punch and the many offerings of the Crescent City Farmers Market vendors. Loyola President Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J. also will honor the contributions marketumbrella.org has made to the community by presenting Executive Director Richard McCarthy with an honorary diploma.
“It’s always been our mission to foster programs that have social impact on our communities. We are proud to have been able to support marketumbrella.org from incubation to its current success and look forward to seeing it expand its outreach even further as an independent non-profit,” Wildes said.
McCarthy added, “It’s no accident that marketumbrella.org was founded at Loyola because of the university’s rich Jesuit history of converging education with values and purpose. We use that foundation of social responsibility as a springboard in our work of building a more economically sustainable, socially engaged and healthy community, here at home and beyond.”
marketumbrella.org, best known for bringing the community the Crescent City Farmers Market (CCFM), initiates and promotes the ecologies of local economies by developing markets, mobilizing people and resources, mentoring emerging leaders, and modeling best practices. marketumbrella.org was founded at Loyola’s Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice in 1995 by McCarthy and by Twomey Center Director Ted Quant.
The Twomey Center is an incubator for innovative community/university projects that reflect Catholic social teachings. marketumbrella.org is one of a number of projects that have been incubated there that have eventually spun off as independent nongovernmental organizations (NGO). And now, after substantial growth and numerous contributions to New Orleans through its many programs, marketumbrella.org will become a free-standing NGO of its own.
Quant, who will continue to work with marketumbrella.org as a member of its board of directors, said he is proud to have been part of organization’s development and evolution. “Richard has written an amazing chapter in the history of the Twomey Center’s contribution to social justice,” said Quant. “He took a vision of creating a market for urban gardeners to share and sell their products and at each step in its creation saw greater possibilities and opportunities. It grew into a reality that is not only a cultural institution in New Orleans, but has had national and international impact on meeting the challenges of food security, community health, and environmentally sustainable just economic development.”
marketumbrella.org has a staff of seven and an annual operating budget of $1 million and has been housed at Loyola since its inception. On August 1, the community-driven organization will receive its own 501[c]3 nonprofit status and will move its offices to 200 Broadway Avenue, adjacent to the location of the Tuesday CCFM.
McCarthy noted, “Our influence has grown – new partners are reaching out like never before, enabling us to serve as a re-granting agency with thousands of dollars to support farmers and Market initiatives throughout the region. Similarly, the global attention has helped us to expand our reach far beyond our bioregion. We remain committed to practice, innovation and sharing – and eating well, thanks to our friends at the farmers market.”
In 1995, the Crescent City Farmers Market was established on the mural-adorned William B. Reily parking lot in the once-empty Warehouse District of downtown New Orleans. The brainchild of civic leaders John Abajian and Sharon Litwin and McCarthy, the market soon became a popular – and profitable – Saturday venue and a community of mutual support. In 1999, seafood was added to its offerings. The next year, a Tuesday Farmers Market was opened in the parking lot of Uptown Square (now Tulane Square); Markets in Mid City (Thursday) and the French Quarter (Wednesday) followed.
It soon became clear that CCFM was more than a Market. Historically, it was organized under an entity called the ECOnomics Institute at Loyola; in 2005, the organization rebranded itself as marketumbrella.org to reflect better its accomplishments and aspirations. In addition to the Crescent City Farmers Market (now operating Tuesdays and Saturdays with an annual economic impact of $6.8 million), marketumbrella.org supports many other public markets. Be it Festivus, a holiday market for the rest of us; the White Boot Brigade, a traveling road show of Louisiana shrimpers; or the international fellowship Trans Act; the organization centers on its love of public markets – producing them, learning from them and sharing lessons from them.
For more information or to find out how to support the programs offered by marketumbrella.org, please contact Richard McCarthy at email@example.com or 504-861-5898.
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.