All Things Local Food
in Central Louisiana
Regional Food Digest: November 17, 2017
The Food Digest aims to increase regional communication and collaboration, while inspiring local food movements throughout central Louisiana. The digest is a part of the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative, a community effort aiming to create a vibrant and healthy regional foods economy throughout central Louisiana. Stay tuned for more updates from initiative partners, including the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, the Louisiana Public Health Institute, MarketUmbrella, and the Good Food Project, as well as other Eat Local groups and farmers markets throughout the region.
For updates, follow facebook/cenlalocalfoods or visit Contact John Cotton Dean with specific questions at or (318) 441-3424. 
Upcoming Events:
  • Fresh Central 2018 Southern SAWG Conference Farmer Stipend Application Due; Sunday, November 26th; Apply now by visiting
  • Alexandria Farmers Market Meeting; Friday, December 1st at 11:00am at CLEDA; contact to learn more. 
  • Central Louisiana Food Policy Council 2018 Celebration; Monday, December 11th; email to learn more.
  • Central Louisiana Foodapalooza; January 11th and 12th at the Alexandria Museum of Art in downtown Alexandria; stay updated on this newsletter and at

Want to Get Involved in the Local Foods Movement? Here’s How:
  1. Spend just $5 each week at a local farm.
  2. Support local businesses that support local farmers.
  3. Apply to become a member of the Central Louisiana Food Policy Council.
  4. Host an Eat Local discussion in your parish or community.
  5. Follow us on Facebook
  6. Email with questions and suggestions.
  7. Learn more at
Revamped Foodapalooza Promises to Be More Exciting Than Ever!    
With a new format, and a new venue, the 6th Annual Foodapalooza reflects the growth of Central Louisiana’s local food movement. As more year-round farmers markets have sprung up, and with more local food being included in our region’s restaurants and institutions, Foodapalooza’s new format will feature more opportunities for participants to connect with this region’s local food partners and leaders.

The 2018 Foodapalooza begins with an evening panel discussion on Thursday, January 11th, and continues through Friday, the 12th, with a Conference featuring speakers from across our food economy sectors. Registration will open just after Thanksgiving-- so make sure to stay updated at and with this newsletter. Make sure to view the Save the Date flyer here!

Both the Foodapalooza Panel and Conference will be held at the Alexandria Museum of Art, located in historic downtown Alexandria.  

Friday’s Foodapalooza Conference will feature two national leaders in their respective fields:

Angie Tagtow is a Senior Fellow and Endowed Chair at the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. Angie is a registered dietitian with more than 25 years of experience working at local, state, federal, and international levels in agriculture, food, nutrition policy; public health; and food and water systems. In 2014, she was appointed by President Barack Obama as the Executive Director for the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP).

Rachel Reynolds Luster was born and raised in Arkansas and now lives in Couch, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains. She is a writer, folklorist, fiddler, textile artist, and community organizer there where her work focuses on addressing the holistic health of her home county through land-based cultural and economic initiatives. She has several publications under her belt including The Anthology of Arkansas Folksong, which she co-edited, several entries in the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas, and a biographical sketch of one of her folklore heroes, Mary Celestia Parler, in the Overland Review. Currently, she is crafting a dissertation which seeks to apply key principles from ecology to cultural practice, focusing on cultural initiatives that encourage the economic, cultural, spiritual, and environmental well-being of Oregon County, her home, and its enduring cultural traditions. Rachel currently serves as a Contributing Editor for the Art of the Rural.

We hope to see you on January 11th and 12th for the 6th Annual Foodapalooza! 
Apply Now for the Fresh Central 2018 Southern SAWG Conference Stipend!
Do you own and operate your own small farm or ranch? Are you interested in attending one of the South’s largest and most exciting meetings focused on sustainable agriculture? Apply now for the inaugural Fresh Central Southern SAWG Conference Stipend!  

One lucky farmer or rancher (must be owner/operator) from the ten-parish CLEDA region will be selected at random to receive a $2,000 stipend to attend the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) Conference from January 17th to 20th in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Applications will be accepted through Sunday, November 26th. The recipient will be chosen at random and notified by December 1st.

You can apply for the stipend by clicking here.

The annual Southern SAWG Conference is held each January and provides “a forum to learn about sustainable farming techniques and marketing strategies, community food systems, and federal farm policies and programs that promote sustainable agriculture. This event also provides producers, researchers, information providers, concerned consumers and community organizers the opportunity to build networks, strengthen alliances, and celebrate the achievements of Southern sustainable farmers.” Learn more about the 2018 Southern SAWG Conference at its website.

For more information about the Fresh Central 2018 Southern SAWG Conference Farmer Stipend, contact Bahia Nightengale at or visit
Market Holiday Market and Mini-Makers at the Alexandria Farmers Market    
Save the date for a Holiday Market on Tuesday, December 12th, at the Alexandria Farmers Market! This Holiday Market is a free, family-friendly event where you can shop for local food and handmade gifts for everyone on your list.  Musician Mike Tam will provide live entertainment, and kids can enjoy holiday-themed crafts and a scavenger hunt with vendors.

The event will also feature a mini-market with kids selling their own creations. This fun and educational opportunity is open to children 5-to-14 years old who grow, bake, or make and want to strut their stuff at a market. Examples of items to sell include home-grown plants/flowers/produce, baked goods, lemonade, jewelry, drawings/paintings, hand-crafted toys, décor, etc.  If you know of a mini-maker who would like to participate, please contact Allison Tohme at by December 5th. 

The Holiday Market will occur on Tuesday, December 12th, from 3:00-6:00pm at 2727 Jackson Street.
The Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative was created in 2012 with a Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana Grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana and matching funding from The Rapides Foundation. The Initiative is currently supported by funding from The Rapides Foundation and the USDA National Resource Conservation Service, as well as a philanthropic investment from Keller Enterprises, LLC. It is connected by CLEDA, the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.

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