Global Healthcare Company Invests $4M in Louisiana Agriculture

NEW ORLEANS – Global healthcare company Novo Nordisk has announced a three-year, $4.1 million grant to support the production and sale of local food on small-scale farms throughout the state. This complex food systems program is the work of the Louisiana Small-Scale Agriculture Coalition, a coalition of seven food system organizations who work on a range of components of food system infrastructure across Louisiana. The statewide coalition includes Acadiana Food Alliance, Big River Economic Agricultural Development Alliance, Louisiana Central, Market Umbrella, New Orleans Food Policy Action Council, Shreveport Green and Sprout NOLA.

“Agriculture is an important strategy for mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis that disproportionately affects New Orleans and the greater Gulf South,” said a spokesperson for the coalition. “Although Louisiana is an agricultural state, production is focused primarily on big commodities. If there were no imported food from elsewhere, there would be only enough food grown in Louisiana to feed the state’s population for one week.”

LSSAC formed in 2022 to bolster the agricultural economy and support Louisianans struggling with food insecurity by creating low-cost access to fresh, healthy, local food. In March 2024, the coalition began a statewide project to improve the capacity of the local food system. By focusing on infrastructure and technical assistance support for small-scale vegetable farmers, this program aims to increase the demand for and availability of local, fresh food across the state. Additionally, it will build connections between farmers and market outlets specifically for low income and food insecure residents.

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“We know, from our work with both institutions and farmers, that gaps exist between the two. In order to have a strong local food system, LSSAC will work to help fill these gaps in innovative and collaborative ways so that more fresh, healthy, local food will be available for all Louisianans, including our youngest and most vulnerable,” says Elisa Muñoz, executive director of the Food Policy Action Council. 

The team will work with food banks, early childhood education centers, schools and shelters to create market pathways that can be lasting outlets for fresh food. There will be a special focus on building partnerships with food systems leaders and organizations in under-represented parts of the state. In addition, partners are supporting the development of on-farm infrastructure so farmers can scale up, increase capacity, and implement more sustainable business operations. More sustainable farm businesses will mean more fresh food across the state in perpetuity.

“At Novo Nordisk, we start and end every day driven by the mission to promote health and wellness in our communities. Through our giving we work with locally based partners, like Louisiana Small-Scale Agriculture Coalition, to ensure that the projects are reflective of the community’s input, expertise, and needs the community identifies,” said Jennifer Duck, vice president, public Affairs, Novo Nordisk. “We’re proud to partner with LSSAC on meaningful solutions to improve healthy food access that will benefit the health and wellbeing of marginalized communities that will be served by this project.”

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