New Orleans, USA - 2007
Hurricane Katrina flooded 80% of New Orleans, devastating completely some of the surrounding suburbs and rural areas. The post-storm environment has seen a halving of the city’s pre-storm population of 460,000, as people either move away or simply have not returned. Immigrant laborers and out-of-state contractors, not locals, are doing most of the reconstruction work. Many of the larger public housing projects remain closed, and the Unified New Orleans Plan for recovery and redevelopment is unclear about the future of public and low-income housing. Already, the scarcity of housing in general has driven retail and rental housing prices to double their previous levels; schools, hospitals, transportation, and other services remain unreliable and low-quality, making it even harder for people, especially low-income families with dependents, to return. Over two years after the storm, many businesses and entire neighborhoods remain shuttered and closed. Though most of the hopelessly dilapidated houses have been demolished and the flood cars removed from the sidewalks, debris still lines the streets. These deserted streets have altered the public’s perception of certain areas, further stigmatizing neighborhoods such as the Lower 9th Ward and Central City. A further sign of Hurricane Katrina’s lasting impact is that the desertification of urban areas has produced extremely low food security in certain neighborhoods. Various non-profit groups have rallied to this cause, including marketumbrella.org, as well as new groups Stay Local and the New Orleans Food and Farm Network. Common Ground, Emergency Communities, and even the satirical newspaper, The Trumpet, are examples of organizations that were founded by outsiders, drawn to New Orleans after the storm.
marketumbrella.org (www.marketumbrella.org) – New Orleans, Louisiana (USA)
An independent non-profit, marketumbrella.org is pledged to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Learning, sharing, growing marketumbrella.org cultivates community markets that utilize local resources to bolster authentic local traditions. We belive that ambitious social, health, environmental and financial goals are achieved if trust and respect are present. We envision communities of market umbrellas, like flowers in the field, opening all over the world for the public good.
Richard McCarthy is the co-founding director and serves as the project manager for trans-act grant activities. He is a nationally recognized expert on establishing and managing farmers markets that link produces and consumers.
In 1995, marketumbrella.org (mu.o) established the Crescent City Farmers Market (www.crescentcityfarmersmarket.org) in downtown, to increase access to markets and opportunities for urban and rural farmers throughout the Gulf Coast and Mid-South regions. Further, mu.o envisioned that it would spark new ideas about regional assets and the need for new models to achieve healthy communities. The market is now held weekly in two locations, with an annual economic impact of $6.8 million. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the market operated in four locations, four days each week, with an annual impact of $12 million. It attracts increasing numbers of minority, limited-resource farmers and fishers, and draws vendors from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
By the time Katrina’s forced migration rocked its world, mu.o’s reach had grown far beyond our immediate region. And when mu.o returned to its broken-down city, it discovered that the reopening of its Crescent City Farmers Market six weeks after Katrina did more for mental health therapy than a busload of psychologists. Why? The community needed to embrace the warm hug of fruits and fellowship in the temporary “town square” of the farmers market.
contact us: email@example.com
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