We’re sending out a nod of appreciation to the folks in Alexandria who embraced last weekend’s second annual Foodapalooza fest (a day long celebration of local foods and farmers within Central Louisiana). The day included seminars (topics such as “How to build a container garden” and “How farmers can join forces and become more profitable), an enlightening key note speech (presented by the Indian Springs Farmer Association) and a tour of Inglewood Farms. For more details, read the account below from John Dean, who leads an effort to launch Eat Local community groups on behalf of the Central Louisiana Local Foods Initiative (a Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana grant supported program).

Touring Inglewood Farms during last weekend’s Foodapalooza in Alexandria.
Touring Inglewood Farms during last weekend’s Foodapalooza in Alexandria.

February 28, 2014

By John Dean (From the Central Louisiana Local Louisiana Food newsletter)

If participant engagement is any indication, the second annual Foodapalooza, held on Friday, February 21st, was an absolute success. Throughout the seven workshops, as well as during the opening keynote presentation, Foodapalooza participants demonstrated a commitment to actively engage the keynote and workshop presenters who are all leaders in their respective fields.

This was particularly apparent in the workshop led by Good Food Project Director and Local Food Working Group member Frances Boudreaux. The workshop, which focused on how to build your own container garden, included a variety of interested and engaged participants. Boudreaux notes: “It was great to see so much active participation for the entire workshop- it demonstrates the excitement that the whole community has for local foods.”

One lasting effect of Foodapalooza is the impact that the local foods event has on our local businesses. Six restaurant’s served locally-sourced produce in their meals, with many doing so for the first time. Tommy Suave, owner of Pineville’s Southern Creations is excited to continue the work started by Foodapalooza: “We welcomed the opportunity to work with local vendors for Foodapalooza, and hope to continue to do so into the future.”

From the opening keynote presentation to the afternoon local food and farm activities, Foodapalooza saw a definite increase in participation from last year, developing a strong foundation to build on for the future. Most importantly though, the strong participant engagement shows the determination that our region has in continuing the local foods movement.

Continue to stay engaged by following the initiative’s facebook page, and be on the lookout for some big announcements and more opportunities to be involved!