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
Mike Harson's coffers show the advantage of incumbency.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will vote on an ordinance for final adoption Tuesday that, if approved, would give the city the green light to take over a stretch of Verot School Road from the state Department of Transportation and Development.
The Louisiana Association of Educators filed a lawsuit challenging the $60 million in spending through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
He's been out of office for nearly a decade, but former U.S. Sen. John Breaux is back on the campaign trail, urging voters to support his one-time colleague, Democrat Mary Landrieu.
The unresolved fate of the ashes left behind after Ebola waste was destroyed in Texas highlights the problem U.S. hospitals and communities could face in disposing of their own waste.
Lafayette manufactured home or Scott two bedroom home
Cajun fan fierce
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
While much of the talk was about whether New Orleans could win a big game — or any game, for that matter — on the road, the conversation in the Saints' locker room was about something completely different.
State health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.
Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to apologize after she suggested Thursday that President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity in the South is partly tied to race.
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Homecoming outfits with ease
Acadian style home in St. Martinville or traditional Breaux Bridge home
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."