LSU AgCenter, Local Partners Receive Community Grant for Morehouse Parish Garden to Table Project

BATON ROUGE – The public is invited to attend a community kick-off event to announce the launch of the Morehouse Parish Garden to Table Project on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the LSU Ag Center Auditorium, 9609 Marlatt Drive in Bastrop.

Through a Louisiana Healthcare Connections Community Health Grant, the Garden to Table Project will install raised-bed gardens at the LSU Ag Center office. Seasonal fruits and vegetables will be grown and maintained by volunteers designated and trained by the LSU Ag Center’s horticulture and nutrition employees. A referral process will be implemented among the community-based partners to identify families and individuals in need, and participants will receive fresh produce as well as in-depth nutritional education and training.

The project, a collaborative measure of multiple community partners, is designed to educate and engage local families in every step of the growing process, from planting and growing to harvesting, preparing and storing fresh produce. The community kick-off event on Nov. 10, 2018, will provide local residents with information about the Garden to Table Project and will include nutritional exhibits and workshops as well as health screenings and family-friendly activities.

The LSU Ag Center proposed the Garden to Table Project due to 2018 County Health Rankings that placed Morehouse Parish as 61st among Louisiana’s 64 parishes for low health factors and outcomes, and Map the Meal Gap data that estimated nearly 24 percent of the parish’s population is food insecure.

“This garden will help fill a need for low income individuals and families to have access to fresh foods. With the high rate of childhood obesity in the parish, this will put nutritious foods on the table for our kids,” says Katie Parnell, CEO of Morehouse Community Medical Centers, Inc., one of the key project partners. “We are excited to see this garden come to our parish. It will provide an educational learning project that will teach kids healthy eating habits.”

Kay King, Morehouse Parish Economic Development Specialist, agrees, “It is so important for adults and children to understand the benefit of eating fresh food and the connection with mental and physical health.”

“Hunger is an issue that affects every community in our state, and it is one that negatively impacts the health of Louisiana’s families,” says Chelsea Graves, Community Relations Principal for Louisiana Healthcare Connections. “The Garden to Table Project proposed by the LSU Ag Center and its community partners will not only provide local families with access to healthy foods, but also with the opportunity to learn how to grow, harvest, prepare and store those foods for long-term food sustainability. We are excited to help bring this wonderful program to the residents of Morehouse Parish.”