© 2017 by Acadiana Food Alliance

Created by A. Judice

Acadiana Food Alliance aims to build income for regional producers, as we engage and unify the local foods movement in Acadiana by providing technical assistance, a regional vision and leadership. Our intention is to increase sales and consumption of local food, to develop new market opportunities for regionally produced agricultural products, and to expand this area’s local food enterprises.

Acadiana Food Alliance

History & Progress

Formation

In February, 2014 the Acadiana Food Alliance began when small farmers, community leaders, local officials, non-profit organizations, restaurateurs and food industry professionals came together to map, understand, and strengthen the area food economy. This convergence of efforts, particularly the participation of local government and economic development agencies, represents a watershed moment for the development of a place-based food economy in the greater Acadiana area.

Local Food, Local Places - Technical Assistance Grant (2014)

Lafayette was awarded the LFLP grant in 2014 by the US EPA, in partnership with USDA, US HUD, & US DOT.  Community stakeholders once again came together in March 2015 and were guided by the LFLP technical assistance team to plan and prioritize the development of our local food system. The result was a Strategic Implementation Action Plan, outlining five overall goals for the nine-parish Acadiana region.  Due in part to the success of this work, our community received a USDA Local Food Promotion Program planning grant in 2015. 

Strategic Implementation Action Plan (2015)

 

Five primary activities were identified and mapped out for near-term action:


1) Formally establish the Acadiana Food Alliance and hire an executive director
2) Initiate a regional "Grow Acadiana" branding and marketing campaign capitalizing on parish-wide collaboration and
promotion across sectors in the food economy
3) Create a national educational model of “Food Immersion” by engaging schools and students in the food system; similar
to our locally produced “French Immersion” class to preserve Cajun French in the region
4) Support the development of area food hubs for storage, distribution, and streamlining local food access
5) Direct resources, support, training, and tools towards new and established farmers

Local Food Promotion Program - Planning Grant (2015)

This grant allowed us to examine the local food system in and around Lafayette and identify the issues that hinder our local food access.   In a report called "Our Acadiana Food System," root problems were identified, including insufficient production, limited farmer income, communication and sales issues between farmers and potential purchasers,  and a need for distribution services specific to our area’s needs. 

Acadiana Food Circle - Passing the Torch (2016) 

In June of 2016, the Acadiana Food Alliance announced its absorption of the Acadiana Food Circle organization.  With a similar mission to connect local consumers to local producers and to educate the public on local, healthy food choices, the Acadiana Food Alliance committed to building onto Acadiana Food Circle's previous work to further enhance the region's local food system.  The Local Food Directory, created by the Acadiana Food Circle, was also adopted by the AFA with a promise to update and make its content public once again.  A big thank you to the founders and board members of Acadiana Food Circle Tyler Thigpen, Whitney Broussard, Lacey Dupre, Daphne Olivier, Sal Lopinto, Molly Richard, Brian Gotreaux and Ryan Trahan.

Acadiana Produce Survey (2016)

In 2016, the AFA in partnership with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority took the first annual survey of regional farm production, growth, and needs.  Results showed a majority of local produce is sold at farmers markets and through direct sales, and a majority of our local farms are small, with annual revenue of $25,000 or less. 

Grow Acadiana Branding Campaign (2017)

 

In March of 2017, funded by a grant by the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission (LCVC), Acadiana Food Alliance completed a core activity of the Strategic Action Plan - initiate a regional "Grow Acadiana" branding and marketing campaign.  Right Angle, a local marketing firm, developed a branding package for the Acadiana Food Alliance, including a logo, targeted messaging, and tagline.  They contributed substantial pro-bono work in addition to their contracted work – multiplying the value of the grant funds. This branding package allowed the AFA to create regular content highlighting Lafayette’s vibrant local food movement and drive home the value to our culture and economy of eating local.

Acadiana Food Alliance aims to build income for regional producers, as we engage and unify the local foods movement in Acadiana by providing technical assistance, a regional vision and leadership. Our intention is to increase sales and consumption of local food, to develop new market opportunities for regionally produced agricultural products, and to expand this area’s local food enterprises.

 

For more information on how you can support the Grow Acadiana movement, or to apply for the Acadiana Food Alliance board, contact us at acadianafoodalliance@gmail.com

Board of Directors

2018

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