Lafayette workshops to focus on local food economy _lowres

Advocate file by LEE CELANO - Venders are set up under large oak trees at the Lafayette Farmer's and Artisan's Market at the Horse Farm Saturday, Feb. 21, 2015.

The growth of the local food economy will be the topic of workshops Wednesday and Thursday at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center in downtown Lafayette.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be on hand to discuss strategies to put more local meat and produce on local plates.

The assistance is through a federal initiative called “Local Foods, Local Places,” which helps communities grow local food markets through technical support and planning from government agriculture and economic experts.

Experts in agriculture, health and economics work with locals to develop food-related projects, such as using vacant land to plant crops and grow food, establishing year-round farmers markets and improving food supply chains by creating local food distribution hubs.

The workshops come as several local food measures have taken shape in Lafayette, including farmers markets in Freetown and at the Horse Farm, as well as community gardens built by neighborhood groups in Freetown and McComb-Veazey.

More than 300 communities throughout the country applied for assistance through the Local Foods, Local Places consulting program, and only 25 were chosen.

The workshop will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Rosa Parks Transportation Center, 101 Jefferson St.