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Lessons from the Big Easy

chef making pizza300I recently returned from a meeting in New Orleans and came back inspired by the excitement and energy around entrepreneurship, including food entrepreneurs.   

Of course the city is marked by Hurricane Katrina in many ways. The pre-Katrina New Orleans had a lagging economy, high unemployment, high crime, and failing schools. Post Katrina, the city began to put itself back together by embracing entrepreneurship as a way to pull itself up. Entrepreneurs found needs in every sector, including the local food sector. Two examples of food-based businesses are Revolution Foods and Naked Pizza.  

Revolution Foods was founded by two moms wanting to address the nutrition value and affordability of healthier school meals.  While the two started by educating children about healthy eating in schools, the company has grown today to one of healthy food distribution for millions of children and families in Louisiana and around the country. These entrepreneurs found a way to address a critical need, while growing a sustainable business.  

The founders of Naked Pizza also sought to meet a need and fill a market niche, offering a healthier option to fast, highly processed delivered pizza with high-fructose corn syrup and other non-nutritious ingredients. This product, a pro-biotic, whole wheat pizza is made with locally sourced, natural ingredients and delivered to your door in under 30 mins. The company sought to support local farmers, employ local residents and provide a product that is delicious and good for you. It is now in countries throughout the world, including the United Arab Emirates and Ireland.    

We can learn from these entrepreneurs whose focus on food business makes economic and health sense. With the growing supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Albuquerque Metro region, ideas like these will be supported. And, the needs in our community include food storage, processing, packaging and delivery. Find support at the Agriculture Collaborative, or attend a 1 Million Cups session.

What’s your food idea?

View this and other ag news in the November issue of Local Food Connections >

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