What We Do
Connecting children to healthy food through education and community partnerships.
What We Do?
The Good Food Project supports a culture of health in the public schools through-out Central Louisiana. The environment is one in which good health and well-being is promoted across geographic, demographic and social sectors. Good Food Project aims to foster healthy equitable communities that guide public and private decision making; giving everyone opportunities to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles.
We will not just feed children and adults for a day or a week, but will help them eat better, encourage healthy food choices, grow their own food, provide food for others and also remain active throughout their lifetime.
The Good Food Project became operational in September 2011 with work of establishing a 1/3-acre demonstration garden as part of the Food Bank complex. The site took several months to complete, and it is ever evolving as the program continues to grow. Here, gardeners of various ages and experience levels are given opportunities to learn about and participate in sustainable organic garden practices through tours, field trips, workshops, and hands-on programs. Community members can volunteer to cultivate, plant, maintain the demonstration garden, and harvest fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs that are distributed to Food Bank clients or local non-profits that serve food to the needy.
NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for the health and safety of our community, the demonstration garden's public programs are temporarily on hold.
In 2017, a strategic plan for the Good Food Project was conducted with Food Bank/GFP staff, GFP Advisory Council members, community partners, and volunteers. It was the beginning of a process to determine GFP’s positive program outcomes, its vision, and goals for the future. As a result of the strategic plan, a consensus was reached that GFP’s sustainable gardening program made its greatest strides working with children.
A revised program vision and mission stated that the GFP would move toward expanding its outreach to serve more youth by establishing two pilot school programs in the fall of 2018. To accomplish that goal, GFP set out to partner with the Rapides Parish School Board and to align GFP’s teaching and curriculum to the Louisiana Believes STEM Curriculum. An Inter-agency Agreement with The Food Bank was approved in October 2018, and two schools were chosen as pilots: Mabel Brasher Elementary and Phoenix Magnet Elementary. The GFP staff coordinates with each school’s administrator and lead garden teacher to present lessons that highlight specific science units.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of school facilities in Spring 2020, our in-school education pilots and regular school gardening programs were put on hold. As Good Food Project moves into the 2020-2021 school year, we are hoping to incorporate our new video lessons, initially created for summer camp education, into the school pilot curriculum. We are excited to expand this program and to work with school personnel and students to be an enhancement to the education of children in Central Louisiana.
The Good Food Project of The Food Bank of Cenla is excited about the potential for making a difference in the health and well-being of the children we serve, now and for their future and in fulfilling The Food Bank’s mission to “Alleviate Hunger in Central Louisiana.”
Good Food Project has helped to establish 35 community gardens across Cenla. All of our garden program sites are learning environments offering students and adults of all ages opportunities to learn how and what to plant seasonally and sustainably, where emphasis is placed on nutrition and healthy eating options. As we continue to work with our neighborhood community gardens, we will continue to integrate children and utilize cross-generational learning when possible. The Project teaches them to grow food organically, promoting a "kindness to the earth" model that is long lasting.