Formerly known as the Economics Institute, Market Umbrella, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, began with a simple mission: to promote ecologically sound economic development in the Greater New Orleans area, particularly among family farmers and other local agricultural enterprises. The Crescent City Farmers Market has been a laboratory where ideas have taken root and flourished. The Market gives area growers, producers, and fishers a venue where they can claim a fair price for their goods and services. It has allowed a number of entrepreneurs to launch new businesses. By providing a public market where consumers and producers come together over food — a powerful cultural common denominator in the New Orleans region — the Crescent City Farmers Market promotes good health among citizens, greater social interaction between communities and sustainable economic development.
From that simple mission, Market Umbrella has expanded to become a mentor for public markets throughout the region and the nation. We have developed tools that other markets use to measure their economic impact, created workshops where organizers develop funding strategies and best practices, and launched a number of programs that target specific agriculturally based enterprises and communities lacking access to fresh food. Our reach now extends well beyond the New Orleans area, but our commitment to innovation and smart economic development — and of course, eating well — is still what drives us.
The Crescent City Farmers Market is the public face of Market Umbrella. Founded in 1995 as a part of the Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice at Loyola University New Orleans, CCFM is an outgrowth and reflection of Market Umbrella's core mission to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Through learning, sharing and growing, Market Umbrella cultivates community markets that utilize local resources to bolster authentic local traditions. We believe that ambitious social, health, environmental and financial goals are achieved if trust and respect are present.
Market Umbrella offers technical assistance for public markets on a sliding-fee scale. We share our accumulated knowledge and experience with aspiring and established markets to help them grow.
By hosting markets, we create a space for farmers, ranchers, fishermen, small food businesses, and musicians to succeed. Successful markets provide opportunities for new farmers, cultivating the next generation of food producers and growing the food system.
Our SEED, NEED, and FEED tools measure public markets’ economic, social, and human impacts. Market Umbrella also creates custom program evaluation plans to help other public markets maximize their impacts.
Our programs increase fresh food access to the community, contributing to health and well-being while driving business to the markets. Our Market Match SNAP matching program, farmers market prescription program, local food and fitness farmers market field trips, and Marketeers Kids Club are just a few of the innovative ways Market Umbrella grows healthy public markets and healthy communities.
We foster a food system that yields an abundance of locally produced foods and community support. From our home base in New Orleans, Market Umbrella advocates for healthy local food systems locally, regionally, and nationally.