EPA Provides Assistance to North Lake Charles and Opelousas, La., for Community Revitalization, Local Food Economy

 

05/15/2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service, is announcing assistance to help 16 communities boost economic opportunities for their local farmers, while promoting clean air, safe water, open space, and healthy food choices. Among the recipients are two in Louisiana: the Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services in North Lake Charles and the Opelousas General Health System Foundation in Opelousas.

 

“The Trump Administration is committed to helping communities develop and strengthen their local food economy by investing in opportunity zones,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Support for local food initiatives will improve access to fresh foods, support our local farmers, and grow new businesses, all of which lead to happier and healthier communities.”

 

“By investing in local food economies, EPA can help communities support their businesses while improving access to fresh foods,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “We are proud to support efforts in North Lake Charles and Opelousas to create healthier, more resilient communities.”

 

The Southwest Louisiana Center for Health Services is launching a community food policy workgroup to build out a vision for the local food system to include community gardens, outreach to schools, pocket gardens, and education on the value of planting fruit trees, especially in unused land in blighted neighborhoods. The Opelousas General Health System Foundation will build upon a recent brownfields assessment of downtown to explore how a cultural tourism hub can bridge gaps between revitalization and healthier cultural eating alternatives.

 

Nearly all communities selected include Opportunity Zones, in support of President Trump’s Executive Order 13853. The assistance is provided through the Local Foods, Local Places (LFLP) program, a federal initiative that helps communities reinvest in existing neighborhoods and improve quality of life through the sustainable development of their local food economy.

 

The selected communities will get access to a team of federal, state, and regional agricultural, environmental, public health, architectural and economic development experts to help develop an action plan, set goals, and identify local assets that can support the local food economy and contribute to downtown and neighborhood revitalization.

The EPA will be flexible in working with these communities on next steps for the projects planned below, as necessary, considering that many communities are still dealing with issues related to COVID-19. 


For more information on LFLP: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places

 

For more information on LFLP 2020 communities: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places#2020

 

More on EPA’s work in Louisiana: https://www.epa.gov/la

 

Connect with EPA Region 6:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6

About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central

 

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