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LHCC + Central LA Farmers Market = Better Food, Better Health, Better Economy

LHCC + Central LA Farmers Market = Better Food, Better Health, Better Economy

Laura Ricks
Sep 24, 2019

Want to learn how a little seed money goes a long way?

At the Oberlin Farmers Market in Central Louisiana's Allen Parish, LHCC mini-grants are helping more customers shop there, which helps people eat healthier, while also giving area customers, farmers and ranchers an economic boost. That's a true win-win.

So how exactly did all this happen? One LHCC mini-grant given to the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance (CLEDA) enabled the Oberlin Farmers Market to serve customers who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That LHCC investment, in turn, inspired a philanthropic gift that allowed SNAP customers to get a match for those benefits, doubling their buying power and allowing them to buy even more healthy, local foods. That's an incredible match, truly benefiting Allen Parish, where almost three-fourths of households have a median income that is less than the national average.

This change also benefits the farmers and ranchers in the area, providing them not only more customers, but an additional economic leg up because farmers markets like the one in Oberlin equal more customers buying directly from them in a true "Shop Local" effort. It's estimated that if everyone in Central Louisiana spent just $5 per week directly with farmers and ranchers, it would equal a $91 million boon to those businesses. And that, in turn, spurs the whole local economy, via their raised spending power, taxes and even potential hiring capacity.

It truly doesn't get much more "win-win" than that. And how exactly did it all happen? Partners who were already doing work in the area, like EatGrowMove (an effort being shepherded by the LSU Ag Center), Well-Ahead and the United Way, started working with the SWLA Center for Health Services, which using another LHCC mini-grant, helped to expand and promote the market, furthering even more the power of CLEDA's LHCC mini-grant. Most importantly, none of it would have even started without the desire and cooperation of the people in Central Louisiana who decided that healthy foods and the Oberlin Farmers Market was something they wanted and were ready to support.

Watch our YouTube video on the Oberlin Farmers Market (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx2WhL_Jygk) to learn more.

And remember too that this is just the story of one LHCC mini-grant location. Keep checking this blog and our LHCC social media to see what's happening in your area, and how we're getting Louisiana to a healthier state. Explore our website and get LHCC mini-grant information and applications too! https://healthylouisiana.org/mini-grants

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