1970-2010 Timeline

Community-based initiatives and businesses that contributed to the regional food and farming sector in and around New Orleans during this era. Have something to add or correct? Please let me know.

-The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives (MAC) was established in 1972 as an affiliate of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (1967). Farmers like 4th generation Ben Burkett in Petal, Mississippi fostered collective action and justice work through entities like MAC, the Indian Springs Farmers Association and through farming the land and sharing  knowledge. The Burketts continue that work today, with daughter Darnella now also working statewide and nationally while farming her own land and raising her daughter to be the next generation of activist in the family.

-1972: Buying clubs form, including the Robert Street Co-op, Marengo Street Co-op, Cohn Street Co-op
(From Robert Thompson, longtime activist): The residents of the house included other Tulane students Steve Samuels and Rick Moss. A buyer went to the French Market and bought seasonal stuff, and was arranged like a store with buyers circulating around buying what they wanted. Liz and I worked the cash register each week. Afterwards a guy from the Marengo St commune would come and buy up all the remaining food. This coop functioned during the school year. In summertime, the student members left, and those of us who lived here would combine efforts at the coop on Cohn Street. The serious player there was an acquaintance named Armand Jonte. He was later a chef at Gautreaux’s I think. Last I heard he moved to Gulf Coast. I wish I could recall more about him. Seems like there were a couple of roommates with him on Cohn… But Armond (was in my mind) the soul of the Cohn St Coop. There was always talk of a storefront and I think by the second summer they made the move from Cohn Street to the building by the cemetery.”

-1974: Lee Barnes Cooking School opens

-1974: Hare Krishna Community (ISKON) purchases land in Mississippi for farm named New Talavan

-October 1974 : Opening of Whole Food Company at 7700 Cohen, New Orleans. Its mission was to be a grocery store featuring good, wholesome food. Sales doubled each year for the first four years. By 1978, the store (only 1100 square feet) was doing more than $1 million per year. Success was fueled by a committed staff who were all stockholders in the company. (From WFM corporate history)

-1981: Opening of Whole Food Company, Esplanade Avenue. WFC became the largest outside customer of Texas Health Distributors, the wholesale division of Whole Foods Market. (From WFM corporate history)

1984: All Natural Foods opens on Magazine Street. Operated by Michael Zarou, closed in 2003.

-1987: Eve’s Market opens, founded by Linda K. Van Aman and Claudia Dumestre. Eve’s was first located at the original Whole Food Company location at 7700 Cohn and then moved to Freret in 2001 after the landlord sold the building.  Closed after Katrina. Link to Linda’s recounting of the development of Eve’s Market.

-1988: Purchase of Whole Food Company by Texas company Whole Foods Market. According to WFM corporate history, in May of 1988, the Esplanade store became the sixth Whole Foods Market.

-(1994) First Parkway Partners Community Garden opens
According to the PP website, the organization was founded in 1982 in response to massive budget cuts to the New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways. Parkway Partners began its work by adopting out neutral grounds to citizens for maintenance.

PP Community Garden Directors: Kris Pottharst, Donna Cavato, Max Elliot, Hilairie Schackai, Macon Fry, Mario Taravello, Renee Allie, Susannah Bridges Burley…

Kris Pottharst identified the first new garden location for the Community Garden Project as being on Alvar Street, although existing gardens had also been added to the project. By 1995, the project identified 25 gardens as part of their network and that it had geown from “from 0 to 45+ garden sites within two years. Pre-Katrina, program featured almost 200 community gardens and was one of the largest programs of its kind in the country” (Kris Pottharst)



1995 garden for Dwight Mikey Stewart who killed July 19, 1994 by stray bullets which is part of the Community Garden Program of the Parkway and Park Commission. The garden is located at 3300 2nd street.

from a Jarvis Debeery 2010 column:

.. I’m standing in “Mikey’s Garden,” a small lot that was announced as a blooming reminder of a life cut short but has become just one more overgrown, unsightly mess. A man pedaling along Second Street asks me if my presence means the grass is about to be cut. Does he want the garden fixed up so passers-by can remember it as the site where an innocent little boy was killed? No. He wants it cut because, he explains, he can’t see cars approaching on Johnson if he’s riding on Second. Mims is disgusted at the state of the park and what he thinks it symbolizes: a city that raises its voice in anger and anguish when a child is slain, marks the spot in an act of remembrance and then forgets.


-1995: Crescent City Farmers Market at 700 Magazine opens. The market organization is housed at the Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice at Loyola University New Orleans by Blueprint for Justice editor Richard McCarthy and local activists John Abajian and Sharon Litwin.

-1996: Cafe Reconcile is founded on Oretha Castle Haley, opening as restaurant in (yr?)

-1996: Founding of Red Stick and Covington Farmers Markets

-1997: Chef Susan Spicer opens Spice Inc. “take-out food, bakery, and cooking classes. This became “Wild Flour Breads”, which is co-owned with Sandy Whann.” (Wikipedia)

-1999: Slow Food New Orleans chapter is founded, formed by Poppy Tooker. (Chowhound)

-2000(?): The Vintage Garden Farm @ ARC is founded. Later becomes the first certified organic farm in city.

-2001: Chef Anne Churchill does farm-to-table pop ups at Bridge Lounge.

-2001: Downtown Neighborhood Market Consortium formed by Greta Gladney to add farmers markets in 9th ward.

-2002: Food Not Bombs New Orleans founded. Started by Paul Gailiunas and Helen Hill after moving to the city in 2000 after working with FNB in Halifax Nova Scotia. It is a non-profit, volunteer run organization dedicated to providing free vegetarian meals to the local community, started as an anti-nuclear action against the Seabrook, New Hampshire Power Plant in 1980. “…I remember working with Helen Hill and “Food not Bombs,” and St. Joseph’s church about 20 years ago to redirect edible food “waste” from Whole Foods. Winn Dixie wouldn’t participate, instead they opted to crush their unsightly produce out back of their grocery. (social media post from artist Michel Varisco)

-2002: New Orleans Food and Farming Network founded. It was created by Jeanette Abi-Nader, Max Elliot, Anna Maria Signorelli, and Marilyn Yank joined by local activists Jeanette Bell, Pam Broom, Macon Fry, Ed Melendez, Kathy Parry, Hilairie Schackai, and Dar Wolnik.

-2002: New Orleans Food Cooperative is formed (storefront did not open until 2011.) The first meeting was held on 11/11/2002 and had 22 people attending and was hosted by John Calhoun.

-2002: Opening of Whole Foods Market, Arabella Station
In 2002 Whole Foods built a 28,000-square-foot store in an Uptown New Orleans location presenting New Orleanians with the reality that Whole Foods is not a small co-op or local store but a national corporation that is seeking expansion.

-2003: Jeanette Bell founds Fleur D’Eden Garden on Baronne, composed of an English Rose garden, a kitchen garden and an herb garden.  Mississippi-born Jeanette had moved to New Orleans after living in Detroit where she had founded Bell Floricultural Service in 1980.

-2004: ECOnomics Institute, the parent organization of Crescent City Farmers Markets creates the White Boot Brigade, a pop-up shrimpers market held at the height of the season. The goal was to protect the livelihoods of wild harvest fishers in the Greater New Orleans’ coastal waters from the onslaught of farm-raised seafood imports and natural and industrial disasters.

-2005: Closing of Whole Foods Market, Esplanade
In May of 2005, Whole Foods opens another large store, a 52,000-square-foot store in Metairie, announcing it will close the small Mid-City store in April of 2005. (UNO thesis, Nicole Taylor)

-2005: Opening of Savvy Gourmet on Magazine. This storefront served as a local purchasing hub for chefs after Katrina and a meeting place for food and farming work.

-2005 Laughing Buddha Nursery opens in Metairie; the first permaculture retail store in area.

-2005: Anne Churchill forms the Delicious.  A cooperative kitchen at her commercial space in Bywater where other entrepreneurs were invited to create their products and build businesses.

-2007: Opening of Satsuma Café in Bywater. Possibly the first casual dining restaurants with a locally-sourced ingredient focus.

-2007: Mary Queen of Vietnam  (MQVN)’s Viet Village Urban Farm project begins. Overseen by MQVN’s Father Vien Nguyen and Mary Tran MQVNCDC Director.https://mqvncdc.wordpress.com/projects/viet-village-aquaponics/

-2007: Development of Inglewood Farm, Alexandria

-2008: Opening of Hollygrove Farm. The farm, on the site of a previous commercial nursery is founded by Paul Baricos of Hollygrove CDC and Kris Pottharst, then head of New Orleans Food and Farm Network.

-2008: Announcement of Jack and Jake’s Food Hub

-2008: Sankofa CDC forms farmers market in 9th ward.

-2008: Little Sparrow Farm opens, becoming one of the first “microfarms” in the city. LSF was designed by its founder Marilyn Yank to serve as a demonstration site of the potential of single lot farming, to offer produce for sale to individuals and to intermediate outlets (restaurants/corner stores), and to set a standard for beautification of an empty lot for the recovering area.

-2008: Our School at Blair Grocery by Nat Turner forms

-2009: Backyard Gardeners Network is founded by Jenga Mwendo.

Author: DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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