(Another story about a New Orleans chef!)
Huge fan of John Besh and his amazing team. There is no question he has put his money back in the community and has done amazing work.
I will say (and certainly not meant as criticism to Chef Besh and his team) that even with this excellent help, many farmers here still lack the full resources to increase their capacity. Since sustainable agriculture advocates are few and support for sales outside of the city are quite limited, many still falter with the expansion of their business. Business assistance must be matched with policy changes on production and regional connections that diversify each farm appropriately, since it is important that every farmer is not led only to intermediate and wholesale sales as their big expansion opportunity.
Still, there is no question that his foundation is a huge step in the right directional our region’s producers.
CSM Story and link:
The Foundation’s most recent initiative selects local farmers to provide with financial loans, while also delivering valuable training in marketing and business strategy. Many regional farmers have delicious products, the Foundation shares, but lack the finances or business knowledge to market those products to a wider audience. Working with Hope Credit Union, the Foundation evaluates loan applications and designs customized repayment plans. Then, MBA candidates from Tulane University’s Net Impact business advisory program, support loan recipients in setting goals and creating a long-term business plan.
Loans ranging from US$1,000 to US$20,000 are available to farmers within a 200-mile radius of New Orleans. Acknowledging the challenges farmers face in acquiring loans from traditional sources, Besh has yet to set a limit on the number of recipients. “The more we lend the better it is for these guys and gals out working to produce all the wonderful products that make my life wonderful,” Besh said. “We hope to do as many as possible.”