FARM TO TABLE
By Tyler F. Thigpen
Acadiana Food Day is about much more — or is it less? — than local cuisine.
Move over Earth Day; it is time to celebrate food. That’s right, the national celebration of locally grown and -raised foods, Food Day, is held annually on Oct. 24. Each year during the week surrounding Food Day, local foods groups and leaders around the U.S. come together for events and activities that promote community support of local foods. This year, the 3rd Annual Acadiana Food Day will take place from 8 a.m. to noon at the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm on Oct. 26. In Acadiana in the fall, there are plenty of festivals featuring a unique edible facet of south Louisiana, but this celebration focuses on the way food is produced rather than a particular food item or cuisine.
|Photos by Lucius A. Fontenot|
“There are many food celebrations; however, this one focuses on some of the challenges surrounding our food supply,” says Daphne Olivier, Acadiana Food Day volunteer and owner of My Food Coach, a local business that educates clients on healthy food consumption.
“The areas of education and access to healthy foods, reducing hunger in our nation, sustainable farming, and animal and farm worker welfare are areas that need to be recognized and addressed as a grassroots effort.”
Acadiana Food Day started in 2011. “When I found out that a national celebration called Food Day existed, my immediate reaction was ‘Lafayette must be a part of this,’” says Michelle MacFadyen, local foods advocate and co-owner of Great Harvest Bread Co. of Acadiana. “Then I learned that Food Day is extra special because it’s a celebration of healthy, affordable and sustainably produced food.”
MacFadyen teamed up with community-based non-profit Acadiana Food Circle to host the first Food Day in the Great Harvest Bread Co. parking lot. The event featured a farmers’ market, Christine Balfa and friends and other live music, face painting and more. An estimated 50-75 people attended.
In 2012, MacFadyen moved the event to Heymann Park on South College Road and organized a bigger event and farmers’ market complete with local restaurants, slow foods and sustainable gardening presentations, a petting zoo featuring some of the Gotreaux Family Farms’ animals, music and other attractions. The event hosted an estimated 300 attendees.
Similar to the slow foods movement as a whole, Food Day continues to grow. This year the event is going to be paired with the weekly Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm and more than 1,500 people are expected to attend. Acadiana Food Day will include the existing farmers’ market plus guest vendors that are participating for the event, more educational presentations, activities for children and live music.
“For those people who don’t frequent farmers’ markets, I would like the event to be a catalyst for forming a new habit,” says MacFadyen. “Making farmers’ markets a regular part of their week, which could then be a catalyst for getting in the kitchen more.”
For Olivier, Food Day is about incorporating locally grown and -produced foods into the strong food culture that exists in Lafayette. “My dream for Food Day is for our local community to shift their paradigm of food,” says Olivier. “We live in a culture where the taste of food is unmatched anywhere in the world. My hope is that people can also understand the nutritional value of food, and more importantly be able to marry the tastes of food with the nutrition of food from local, sustainable resources.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and past president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
ACADIANA FOOD DAY
8 A.M.-NOON, SATURDAY, OCT. 26
Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm
To volunteer, email Michelle MacFadyen at
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The Libertarian Party of Louisiana says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Security breach at White House; Bejing won't back down from protesters; pressure on third-graders and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 30, 2014.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
T&T show behind the scenes
Four bedroom in Breaux Bridge or four bedroom in Opelousas
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has been viewed as a health care policy wonk, and he's tried to build on that image ahead of a likely 2016 presidential campaign, positioning himself as the candidate with substantive ideas.
Jerry Jones watched what he called the best effort he's seen in 25 years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys in the first half, and that was before Tony Romo had the longest scramble of his career and DeMarco Murray finished off yet another 100-yard game.
Two of the most recognizable women in Republican politics, Sarah Palin and Mary Matalin, have been heavily involved in Louisiana’s current election cycle.
Even though the Louisiana Democratic Party has thrown its support behind former Gov. Edwin Edwards’ congressional bid, national Democrats are not expected to follow suit.
“[Mike] is no longer the energetic ADA that his recent ad is trying to portray. I just think Mike needs to get the hell out.” — Kermit Harson, DA Mike Harson’s brother
The New Orleans Saints have listed Jonathan Goodwin as questionable for Sunday night's game in Dallas, raising the prospect that second-year pro Tim Lelito will start at center for the first time.
The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.
The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims decreased to 2,068 from the previous week's total of 2,071. For the comparable week a year earlier, there were 2,494 claims.
Museum of Fear opens its 2014 season with more scares than ever before.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The endorsements keep coming for District 9 LPSB candidate Jeremy Hidalgo, who picked up his fifth vow of support Thursday, this time from the Chamber’s political action committee.
Three bedroom traditional Broussard house or two bedroom Lafayette townhome
Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter will be out knocking on doors this weekend with anti-abortion activists encouraging people to vote against his colleague, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
The ACLU of Louisiana has sued Abbeville's mayor and police chief over a policy barring police from any social media use showing the city in a bad light.
Prospective Republican presidential candidates are expected to promote "religious liberty" at home and abroad at a gathering of religious conservatives Friday, with anti-Obama speeches from the likes of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
The American Zombie blog by New Orleans independent journalist Jason Berry has a photograph of U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier having dinner with Lafayette attorney Pat Juneau — yeah, that Pat Juneau, the BP claims administrator whose fate Barbier will soon decide.
But retirees and employees who face the higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs responded angrily, telling lawmakers that they shouldn't be held responsible for what they consider the Jindal administration's mismanagement of the Office of Group Benefits.
A school board candidate takes exception to the chamber’s Common Vision initiative.