LiveWell Louisiana

Producing Results

This urban-growth destination supports local farming and healthy eating.
September 12th, 2014 by: Lianna Patch

We’re not just in it for the money. We really do want to shape the landscape here.” – Rie Ma

In the past, Hollygrove Market & Farm could have been called New Orleans’ best-kept secret — but that’s no longer the case. This urban farm and market, located a few blocks off Carrollton Avenue in the Hollygrove neighborhood, grows seasonal fruits and vegetables on its property, and sources many other products from local and regional producers. “This fall is going to be our sixth birthday,” says Rie Ma, Hollygrove Market & Farm’s communications and community outreach specialist. “When we first opened, you could come by once, or maybe two days a week, and get the box. Now we’re open seven days a week.”

The community-supported agriculture “box” Ma mentions is one of the reasons Hollygrove’s popularity has grown so rapidly. For $25, anyone can visit the market and pick up a box of various fresh fruits and vegetables; sometimes, the box also includes eggs and other items. Those who can’t make it to the market to pick up a box can subscribe to box delivery through Good Eggs, a local grocery delivery service. Hollygrove sells hundreds of its fresh produce boxes every week — proof that New Orleans’ awareness of the many benefits of local food is growing.

More recently, the market has expanded to include items like meat, dairy, coffee, honey and other locally produced staples. “We’re really hoping to make it a place where you can come and get some basic shopping items,” Ma says. According to Ma, before the market and farm was founded, the Hollygrove neighborhood was a food desert. One of the organization’s goals is to offer more community space where neighbors and visitors can get to know each other, in what organizers hope will become “more of a passive area to complement the active park across the street,” Ma explains. “People will come in and shop while their kids are playing.” 

Hollygrove Market & Farm also works with other programs and organizations, including LifeCity, VeggieRX and Louisiana Purchase 
(EBT), to offer groceries at a discount. Neighborhood residents and students are eligible for discounts, too — and volunteers can sign up online to take a four-hour shift at the market in exchange for that week’s box of fresh, local fruits and veggies.

The organization offers recipe ideas that incorporate the ingredients in each box via its weekly email newsletter; it’s also looking into offering more nutrition-focused community events. “We’re not just in it for the money,” Ma says. “We really do want to shape the landscape here.”