Good nutrition is important for good health and preventing diseases as well as healthy growth and development of children and teens. Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, but unfortunately, they are not always easily accessible to those who need them.

Our goal is to introduce healthy foods to vulnerable communities and food deserts with limited access to affordable fruits and vegetables. Our Farm Fresh Healthy Food Initiative provides fresh produce to our agencies that may not have the capacity to store refrigerated produce consistently.

Recently, the Chaneyville Community Center in Zachary, Louisiana became a participant of our Farm Fresh Program. We sat down with Janice Huggins, Director of Chaneyville Community Center, to learn more about how this program is helping her community.

“Fresh produce in the northern part of the parish is something we used to have but we no longer have it,” stated Janice. “There were two fruit stands in the north Baton Rouge area but both of them are now closed despite a lot of people depending on that produce.” Clients at the Chaneyville Community Center received fresh grapes, lemons, carrots and watermelons during this month’s drop off of produce. This came at a great time for many clients due to their loss of crops from this year’s rain.

“It is much appreciated because it helps so many people and a lot of people are still hurting from the pandemic,” expressed Janice. “You can’t make a better investment to help those that really need it.”

Janice received the position of Community Center Director in April 2021 after working in the education field in Woodville, Mississippi. Janice was pleased to move home to help those she knows having grown up in the Chaneyville area. During her training at the Charles R. Kelly Community Center, Janice learned about the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank’s Farm Fresh program. Janice called KiEtha Gage, Programs Manager at the Food Bank, and began setting up the process to provide this service to her community.

“I went to school right down the street and I wanted to be able to give back to my neighborhood,” Janice recalled. “I knew during my training that this program was really needed for those we help.”

If you would like to learn more about the Farm Fresh Program and how to get involved, contact us at 225.359.9940 or info@brfoodbank.org.