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Betty Chenier of Chenier Farm values the rewards that come from growing food.
She and her husband, John Chenier, have farmed in Opelousas for thirty years. They
produce a variety of well-known vegetables, along with varieties that aren’t as common
such as kale, Bok choy, and daikon radishes. Through Nourish Louisiana, the Chenier’s
have been given the opportunity to expand their farm, “We have had to plant more
acreage. It’s given us the opportunity to be more productive. This is the first year, and
we’ve been farming for thirty years, that we have had to hire a H-2A worker.” Along with
providing additional employment opportunities, Nourish Louisiana has given the
Chenier’s an additional outlet for their crops, “We’ve been going to the farmer’s market
for 27 years. They will be closing this Saturday, so it’s helped us have somewhere else to
move our vegetables,” says Chenier.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana sources
vegetables from the Chenier’s, including this week’s delivery of around 70 boxes of local
produce which communities facing hunger will receive just in time for Thanksgiving.
Chenier says it’s fulfilling to know their crops are going to those who need it most, “It’s
an awesome feeling for my husband and I to know that we are feeding people. It’s
amazing to see how beautiful it is…and to know that people who want healthy food can
have it when we’re dealing with so much obesity and sickness.” Chenier also believes
Nourish Louisiana is helping local family farms like theirs endure the increasingly
unstable conditions farmers are facing, “It’s helped us sustain in this severe, extreme
weather. The heat wasn’t just hard on the vegetables it was hard on us too.”
Nourish Louisiana is made possible by the USDA Agricultural Marketing
Service’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). In
partnership with LFPA – Feeding Louisiana, the Louisiana Food Bank Association, will
help with purchasing local food products that will be allocated to each Feeding Louisiana
member food bank.
Food purchased will be provided to the five Louisiana Food Banks as well as
their partner network of existing and new food access practitioners, which will then be
distributed throughout Louisiana communities facing food insecurity. Increased sales and
technical assistance will help farm operations scale up into new market streams,
increasing the availability of fresh, local produce during and after the program.
For questions, please contact Angela Hartman, Director of Communications &
Campaigns at Feeding Louisiana.
Email: angela@feedinglouisiana.org
Cell: (925) 818-3044
For more information, please visit: https://www.nourishlouisiana.org/