(New Orleans, Louisiana—May 21, 2014) The French Market Corporation (FMC) Board of Directors approved a cooperative endeavor between French Market Corporation and Market Umbrella to create a year-round weekly farmers market featuring local growers and products, data analysis of community needs, census of market visitors, mentorship of current daily Farmers Market operators, as well as a new food incubator program to shepherd local culinary entrepreneurs.
“Having developed and produced a weekly farmers market, I well know both the significant need for local produce markets and yet the challenges of building and sustaining a viable farmers market. Partnering with the experienced and professional team at Market Umbrella ensures that the significant legwork of finding, securing, and maintaining a consistent group of growers and vendors will occur,” said French Market Executive Director Jon Smith, who created and ran the successful Mid-City Farmers Market.
“Like our other markets across the city, this location will be a gathering space for residents and tourists to celebrate our rich local food traditions,” said Kathryn Parker, MPH PHD, Executive Director, Market Umbrella.
Smith noted that Market Umbrella and the French Market had previously co-operated a farmers market together at the French Market from 2004-2005. But lack of staffing in both organizations and Hurricane Katrina resulted in its demise. “Both organizations are in a much better position to make this effort a long term success,” he commented.
The weekly market is scheduled to begin in October 2014 and will operate from early afternoon to early evening, with each market featuring entertainment and cooking demonstrations. Most important, there will be opportunities for low-income locals to use their EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards to “make groceries” at the market.
“A farmers market that does not serve the entire community is not a real farmers market. People think farmers market are these trendy events, but they are meant to be authentic components of a healthy community, in every sense of the word. We want not so much to recreate what the French Market was, as to utilize our location, resources, history, and community support to meet the needs of New Orleanians as well as tourists seeking fresh local food items, ” Smith emphatically announced at last evening’s board of directors meeting.
“Market Umbrella and the Crescent City Farmers Market are thrilled to reintroduce shopping for fresh and local food to another generation of New Orleanians. Residents, chefs, and tourists alike will be able to buy affordable fresh seasonal produce, seafood and other local products in a space that was meant for this purpose since its inception,” added Ms. Parker.
Market Umbrella will immediately begin their work collecting data to present to the French Market this summer so that the market’s launch in October will meet the needs of locals and tourists.
“We look forward to working with the FMC, local businesses and residents to once again make the French Market a destination for local food,” said Parker.
Market Umbrella currently operates 3 farmers markets throughout the City. A 501c3 nonprofit corporation, the organization is devoted to cultivating the field of public markets for public good. Crescent City Farmers Markets was established in 1995.
The French Market Corporation is a public benefits corporation that operates six blocks of property in the lower French Quarter, including the iconic farmers and flea market, open daily.
A press conference will be announced in the fall to update the community on data findings and specifics for the projected October launch of the new weekly market.
Contact: Kathyrn Parker, Executive Director Kate@marketumbrella.org
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.