Recirculating Farms Help New Orleans Eat Local

Jun 01, 2012, 07:01 ET from Recirculating Farms Coalition

NEW ORLEANS, June 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As New Orleans begins its second annual Eat Local Challenge, the Recirculating Farms Coalition celebrates the launch of a new rooftop garden in the heart of the city and urges more grocers, restaurateurs, and consumers to get involved in growing local food.

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Last evening, NOLA Locavores and partners kicked off the Eat Local Challenge with a party at the new Rouses Market, a locally-owned grocery store, in downtown New Orleans. Throughout June, Challenge participants pledge to only eat foods from within 200 miles. Although southern Louisiana is home to many farmers and fishermen who provide top-notch products, eating exclusively local is not easy.

"New Orleans has rich local food traditions, but the lack of access to enough affordable fresh food makes it very difficult to eat only from local sources," notes Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition. "A challenge like this highlights the need for more local food production, and recirculating farms are an excellent way to ramp up growing—especially since they can be built in virtually any setting."

Recirculating farming is an eco-friendly method of agriculture that uses clean, continually recycled water in place of soil to grow plants (hydroponics), fish (aquaculture), or both plants and fish together (aquaponics). Being soil-less makes these farms well-suited for urban environments, where available growing space may be paved over or on rooftops.

Several recirculating farms are operating in and around New Orleans, and the Challenge party marked the launch of another: Roots on the Rooftop. Designed and built by Aquaponics Modular Production Systems, the new garden grows herbs using a form of hydroponics called aeroponics: plant roots are suspended in air, and intermittently sprinkled with nutrient-rich water. "This is inventive, eco-friendly and exciting," said AMPS President Doug Jacobs.

Commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, Mike Strain, spoke at the event and said he was very supportive of recirculating farming. "These innovative rooftop farms are exactly what is needed in Louisiana and beyond to help provide more fresh, local food."

"We hope this inspires other New Orleans businesses and residents to set up their own recirculating systems and make local eating easier," said Cufone. For more information on recirculating farming, including tips on building your own system, visit

Media contact: Marianne Cufone – 813-785-8386 or

SOURCE Recirculating Farms Coalition