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Local Foods Local Places

Local Foods Local Places Action Plan

In April of 2018 the OGHS Foundation started a community health organization, the Healthy St Landry Alliance, made up of over 30 community partners including local and state organizations, non-profits, community leaders and more. The mission of Healthy St. Landry is to create a healthier St. Landry for all. We’ve done that through creating a directory of resources in St. Landry parish, holding a Summit on Rural Community Healthy, the walking track at South City Park with programs and events to accompany it like our recent FIT Saturday event.

Key findings showed that St. Landry Parish ranks 57th out of the 64 parishes for health factors and behaviors, indicating a clear need for improved education and outreach activities. While Opelousas and the St. Landry Parish area are rich in diversity and culture, there are serious problems with literacy, connectivity and poverty. The Alliance was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to create a strategic plan on addressing these issues.

Building on past success, Opelousas requested assistance through the Local Foods, Local Places program to identify best practices for fostering a healthy community and vibrant downtown. The Healthy St. Landry Alliance plans to bridge the gap in developing a healthier community and revitalization to the downtown area by looking at healthy alternatives to cultural eating.

The Local Foods, Local Places program is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Opelousas was one of 16 communities across the United States selected to participate in the program in 2020 from more than 70 applications.

The goals of the Local Foods, Local Places program are to create:

  • More economic opportunities for local farmers and businesses.
  • Better access to healthy, local food, especially among disadvantaged groups.
  • Revitalized downtowns, main streets, and neighborhoods.

After months of research, meetings and community feedback the steering committee developed an action plan with four major goals:

  • Goal 1 – Expand green farmers market that create opportunities for new and existing community collaboration around healthy eating/living and supporting local growers
  • Goal 2 – Addressing food insecurity through greater resiliency and a more equitable and accessible local food system.
  • Goal 3 – Form connections between next-generation farmers and local growers, restaurant owners through engaging youth via programming and mentorship.
  • Goal 4 – Establish a good hub/commercial kitchen and educational center to improve access to healthy local foods via nutrition and cooking classes, training center and community space.

The Local Foods Local Places Steering Committee along with you, our community, will start to work on these goals and we invited you to be a part of this work. We can do so much more together and this work will help to address food insecurities in our community and expand our local food markets. In our meetings and through feedback during our virtual sessions we came up with some beliefs about our community.

I believe my community…

  • ...has everything it needs to be a vibrant, sustainable community!
  • deserving
  • ...has the potential to rally around a robust market concept to create one of the best markets in the region
  • ...has amazing assets, people and resources
  • unique and authentic
  • ...can come together to collaboratively make things better
  • poised for property as we continue to collaborate

I believe local food…

  • a way of life
  • ...can be the the life blood of our community
  • ...can create tourism driver for our community
  • a sustainable way to support our local economy while healing our bodies
  • what helps introduce families to other local families
  • ...tastes better and is healthier

Join us as we work to create a Healthier St. Landry for us all.

Local Foods. Local Places Steering Committee

  • Melanie Lee-Lebouef, City of Opelousas Tourism, Main Street
  • D'Anna Hooks, OGHS, Foundation Assistant
  • Taylor Lormand, St. Landry Economic Development, Economic Development Strategist
  • Tim Marks, OGHS, Chief Population Health & Clinical Integration Officer
  • Thurman Johnson, Arpeggios and Business Manger Pediatric Office, Co-owner
  • Chad LaComb, Arcadia Planning Commission
  • Perry Frontenot III, LA Dept. of Environmental Quality, Environmental Scientist
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