On Monday, February 26th, New Orleans citizens were hit with hard news: after nearly ten years of operation, Hollygrove Market & Farm announced it would be closing its doors. They offered a glimmer of hope in a revival, but additional news coverage detailing the mounting debts of the organization make it seem highly unlikely that the hub of local food in New Orleans can come back to life.
Hollygrove Market & Farm strived to set the precedent for what local food needs to be: accessible to all. Whether or not they achieved their goal is another subject matter, but for the past ten years they’ve been selling local vegetables, fruits, and food products in an area that is a food desert, and they offered discounts to residents in the neighborhood. Over the years, they slowly changed their hours of operation to being open every day of the week. This past year, they introduced workshops on how to grow your own food and other do-it-yourself programming. The organization delivered their $25 boxes filled with vegetables and fruit to over 100 households every week. If people needed free food they could get a box in exchange for volunteering at the market for four hours. Hollygrove also had a farming apprenticeship program, and many community gardening plots. The staff at Hollygrove were slated to take over the Eat Local Challenge this year. Last June, Why NOLA Farms and the NOLA Social Ride began and ended the annual urban farm bike ride in conjunction with the Eat Local Challenge at their farm and market.
Where do we go from here? Who’s responsibility is it to ensure that the local food economy continues to thrive here? What will become of the farmers who depended on this market’s existence for revenue? What can WE do?
I’m not sure what the answer is yet, but I know that I will now be making more of an effort to support our local farmers markets. Instead of having access to local food 7 days a week, we will have access to it only 5 days a week now. Why NOLA Farms will be continuing the tradition of the urban farm bike ride. You can expect for this blog to become much more active. There are lots of gardeners and farmers in this town, there are likely more than you realize. It’s time that we supported their community events more. If you’d like to see what events are happening, visit the Community Events calendar on this website. Please contact us if we are missing any events.
Thank you Hollygrove Market & Farm for everything that you have done for the community over the past decade. It’s time that we citizens step up to continue the legacy of what Hollygrove Market & Farm started. We need to engage in our community more. We need to grow our own food. We need to attend farmers markets and workshops. We need to help and revive our community gardens. We need to keep the dialogue of local food needs open. I look forward to seeing you all out there.