BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- The Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance (BREADA) has been awarded a three-year grant of $591,579 from the United States Department of Agricultural (USDA). The grant supports the connection between Baton Rouge farmers and the community.

“This funding will significantly increase our capacity to work toward our mission of building a resilient local food system that supports the viability of farms, ranches, and fisheries, fosters community engagement, and encourages healthy eating.” said BREADA Executive Director Darlene Rowland.

BREADA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program is called Red Stick Refresh: Connecting Farmers and Families for a Resilient Local Food System.

“[Red Stick Refresh] is a response to Baton Rouge’s volatile recent history for food producers and residents. Louisiana is known for having among the poorest health outcomes in the nation, and the implications of an unhealthy population were put on display by the state’s disproportionately high coronavirus mortality rate. These recent happenings, coupled with severe weather events that threaten the sustainability of the small, family farms who participate in the Red Stick Farmers Market, demonstrate a great need.” reads a recent BREADA press release.

The project is intended to help Louisiana farmers reach more customers, expand their product offerings, and increase sales. BREADA says the project is also intended to ensure residents have equitable access to fresh, local food through a vibrant network of public markets.

Here’s how Red Stick Refresh will connect farmers to consumers:

  • Provide technical assistance and training for farmers and vendors to improve their business practices;
  • Design and execute a comprehensive marketing campaign to rebrand BREADA, promote its programs, and build authentic connections with the community;
  • Facilitate collaboration among Louisiana farmers markets; and
  • Determine data collection methods to track sales and other market indicators.

USDA intends to invest a total $37.5 million to support producers-to-consumer marketing projects like farmers markers, roadside stands, and agricultural operations.

To learn more about BREADA markets click here.