Farming oysters and clams

Recently, I heard an absorbing edition of Louisiana Eats (food and culture maven Poppy Tooker’s radio show full of “edible content”)  about seafood, and specifically about oysters and clam production along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. Poppy visits a new “off-bottom” oyster farm that is producing bigger and cleaner oysters than ever before and talks to our pal Rusty Gaude, marine biologist and seafood extension agent who has been working on increasing varieties of clams and oysters for many years.  I wrote a short piece about the oyster project a while back and now with Poppy’s show, could actually visualize and understand what they are doing down there.

As for Rusty’s excellent work, I wrote a bit about it recently here.

I know Poppy knows a great deal about oysters as she and I (with funding from Kellogg for our market organization to make teaching videos) had interviewed innovative oystermen in Puget Sound among others, a few years back. The amount of time that she volunteered for ours and other projects confirms how committed Poppy is to improving the lot for Gulf Coast fishing families while also educating folks on the need for reducing the erosion that is likely to sink New Orleans within the next 75 or so years.

To me, the link to all of this is the market organization that first introduced Poppy and Rusty (and me) and allows all kinds of leaders in the community to ask for feedback or space to test out ideas: this is the type of work that farmers markets can curate and encourage even if they are not the main recipient of those new goods-after all, more regional sustainable goods available helps everyone.

Read about another innovative project to reduce the erosion using artificial reefs that encourage oysters to grow and protect the coast.

 

 

 

Farmers market ‘reconnects’ with campus 

This is a project I have assisted whenever called on to do so. This university attracts a great many rural and suburban from a diverse set of backgrounds and yet has almost no attention paid to environmental sustainability or food policy in its coursework, outside of a very few entrepreneurial and committed professors.

A selected student runs the 2-3 times per semester market, and is in charge of adding vendors, running the actual market day and doing on-campus marketing. From my vantage point, this simple project has taught quite a few young adults about farming and about healthy food at a point when they are willing to take in new information. It has also opened an ongoing discussion of why the campus outlets don’t offer better and local food whenever possible.
This market is also an example of the expanded typology that we need to categorize and share so that organizers or partners don’t only expect a 30 + member heavy-on-raw-goods Saturday morning market as the only appropriate intervention. The goals of this market are closely tied to their unique structure and strategy or, what we used to call the 4Ms at Market Umbrella (well, I still call them that)-the market’s mission, management, marketing and measurement. Those first two Ms are the framework for the internal systems created and are linked (the mission should tell you what type of management/governance is required) and the following two are designed once the system of management has been created.

(By the way, this is also a framework we used for evaluating any new project at MU for many years: we first decided if any project suggested was clearly within our mission; then we discussed the type of supervision (management) that would be required and decided if we had the skills and hours to do it well; any marketing and outreach also meant ensuring that our vendors and present shoppers understood the project and of course measurement was based on the external benefits of the project but the impact on the market itself was also measured. Even if the project was successful by external measures, if the present market community felt the project had negative impacts that outweighed the positive ones, then it was not repeated or made into a actual program past pilot stage.)

Many vendors found having a farmers market on campus was beneficial towards the students. It offered students a way to buy local food. Ory explained that Locally Preserved products could easily be incorporated into easy meals for college students. One option is adding their apple pie butter to a bowl of oatmeal for flavor.

Source: Farmers’ market ‘reconnects’ with campus | lionsroarnews

 

Some background from the professor and the founder…

Two new laws in LA help farmers

News from Recirculating Farms Coalition:

“Two new bills in Louisiana that support bringing more good food to communities through local agriculture are now law. The first creates a “farm-to-school” program, which allows Louisiana public schools to communicate directly with local farmers to buy food. Previously, for any food item over $25,000, schools had to go through a complicated and difficult public bidding process, which often left out local farmers because they could not participate, be it due to lack of time or technology. Now, schools can connect with farms for any items under the federal minimum purchasing threshold, which is currently $150,000! This will bring more fresh local food to Louisiana schools. As over 65% of students in Louisiana public schools qualify for free or reduced price meals, the new law will promote providing children with fresh food who may get their primary meal, or even most or all of their meals at school.

Pepper Sarah EbonyThe second new law is an urban agriculture incentive, which allows Louisiana cities to reduce taxes on land usedRooftop hydro towers with herbs smaller for farming. The hope is that more landowners will be motivated to allow use of their properties for urban agriculture and share the tax savings with farmers by leasing at more affordable rates. The intent is to increase access to affordable land in cities for farming and thus also increase availability of local fresh food.

Marianne Sen Thompson and Katie cropRecirculating Farms Coalition, working with students from Loyola New Orleans Law, various farmers, food advocates and especially the National Farm to School Network and Louisiana Farm to School Alliance successfully moved these 2 very important concepts through the Louisiana Legislature with Rep. Ebony Woodruff and Sen. Francis Thompson. On August 1st, with unanimous approval of the House and Senate, they both became law.”