Propelling New Orleans: Five Innovators for Good

By Sarah Trent

This is the third in a three-part series featuring Local Economy Fellow Andrea Chen. Below, read about five New Orleans businesses that Andrea believes are innovating in especially new and unexpected ways. The first installment features the story of Andrea, her place, and how she came to Localism. The second offers a mini case study of Propeller, the business accelerator Andrea helped found. December 4, join Andrea and others at BALLE’s next webinar: Creating a Thriving Local Ecosystem: Business Alliances, Incubators, & Accelerators.

We asked Andrea to identify a number of businesses under the Propeller umbrella that she saw innovating in especially new or unexpected ways and she immediately identified these five accelerator participants. Information on these five businesses is taken directly from Propeller’s website. Learn more about all of Propeller’s social ventures here.

Healthy School Food Collaborative

The Healthy School Food Collaborative, an initiative of KIPP New Orleans and Propeller, is a Propeller-funded School Food Authority (SFA) serving a healthy breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper to 26 New Orleans charter schools. The KIPP SFA, Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), and Propeller hold school vendors accountable to raised nutritional standards – no fried food, no canned fruit, no high-fructose corn syrup, and fresh fruits and vegetables daily. [Read More]

Jack & Jake’s

Jack & Jake’s, LLC, aims to solve limited community access to safe and healthy food in New Orleans. By developing a food distribution network, contained locally within 65 miles of New Orleans, Jack and Jake’s is able to provide affordable and fresh food to retail and wholesale markets.

Jack and Jake’s works to address the market failures that have resulted in the under-utilization of local farms and seafood producers in the southeastern U.S., an incredibly fertile region that is not adequately reaching the local marketplace. Simultaneously, Jack & Jake’s seeks to improve food safety and health outcomes by addressing food access challenges that contribute to the high level of obesity and diabetes that are prevalent throughout the region. [Read more]

VEGGI Farmers Cooperative

VEGGI Farmers Cooperative incubates new farmers and teaches sustainable urban agriculture to former Vietnamese fishermen in New Orleans East who lost their livelihoods after the 2010 BP oil spill. VEGGI focuses on job creation and increasing food access to New Orleanians.

Sixteen new farmers have been incubated in the co-op, 4 farmers have reached pre-BP oil spill income levels, and 12 have supplemented their incomes through produce sales. Ten thousand pounds of produce has been harvested and is currently sold to grocery stores across New Orleans. [Read More]

Justice & Accountability Center of New Orleans

JAC helps New Orleanians get back to work instead of back to prison by providing non-violent criminal record expungements and by working to reform expungement policy.

In Louisiana, approximately 1 in 4 people have criminal backgrounds. Nintey-five percent of JAC’s clients experienced trouble securing sustainable employment due to their criminal records. [Read More]

Griffin Law Group

Griffin Law Group, LLC, works to ensure every child with a physical and/or mental disability has the medical care and financial support they need. GLG works with the whole family to ensure the child’s needs are met.

Griffin Law Group addresses the financial burden families experience while caring for a child with a physical and/or mental disability. GLG handles the time-consuming and overwhelming aspects of the social security benefits process for the child and parents, allowing them to focus on caring for their child. They do not charge the families for services, thus relieving the financial burden on the family. [Read More]

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