Formerly known as the Economics Institute, marketumbrella.org began with a simple mission: to promote ecologically sound economic development in the Greater New Orleans area, particularly among family farmers and other local agricultural enterprises. The Crescent City Farmers Market has been a laboratory of sorts where our ideas have taken root and flourished. The Market gives area growers, producers and fishers a venue where they can claim a fair price for their goods and services. It has allowed a number of entrepreneurs to launch new businesses. By providing a forum where consumers and producers come together over food — a powerful cultural common denominator in the New Orleans region — the Crescent City Farmers Market promotes good health among citizens, greater social interaction between communities and sustainable economic development.
From that simple mission, however, marketumbrella.org has expanded to become a mentor for public markets throughout the region and the nation. We have developed tools that other markets use to measure their own economic impact, created workshops where organizers develop funding strategies and best practices, and launched a number of programs that target specific agriculturally based enterprises. Our reach now extends well beyond the New Orleans area, but our commitment to innovation and smart economic development — and of course, eating well — is still what drives us.