As Louisiana simultaneously leads our nation in obesity and levels of food insecurity, it is more critical than ever to make smart choices available by bringing healthy food to underserved children and adults.
- 23.7% of adults and 26% of children are food insecure in New Orleans.
- 64% of children in Orleans Parish are income-eligible for federal nutrition programs (incomes at or below 185% of the poverty line).
- On average, New Orleans has just one supermarket for every 11,800 residents, compared with the national average of one for every 8,600 residents.
- 1 in 3 children in Louisiana is overweight or obese.
Propeller supports entrepreneurs at every end of the food production and delivery line. By approaching food access as a complex, multi-level system, Propeller helps ventures tackle the gaps and inefficiencies that prevent local growers and producers from delivering fresh, healthy goods to the state’s food insecure population. Propeller also accelerates food security innovators through PitchNOLA: Living Well, its live business pitch competition focused on getting New Orleanians healthier and more active.
Propeller’s end goal is systemic change, accomplished by collaboration between entrepreneurs working together to fill gaps in the local food system. For example, food access entrepreneur Jack and Jake’s (Propeller ’12) won a contract to aggregate and distribute local produce to the Healthy Food Collaborative (Propeller ’13). VEGGI Coop (Propeller ’13) purchased aquaponics growing towers from VertiFarms (Propeller ’13) and provided low-cost farmland to NOLA Tilth (Propeller ’13).
- Jack and Jake’s (now Dryades Public Market) (Propeller ’12) constructed a 27,000 sq. ft. market and distribution point, Louisiana’s first regional food hub capable of connecting local producers with local residents in need, including children at HSFC schools. The market is set to open in 2015.
- Healthy School Food Collaborative (Propeller ’13) has generated $9.8 million in revenue to serve fresh, locally-sourced, healthy meals to 43% of all NOLA public schools.
- VEGGI Farmers Cooperative (Propeller ’13) teaches sustainable urban agriculture to former Vietnamese fishermen who lost their jobs after the BP oil spill. Together, they have harvested over 30,000 lbs. of produce and 30,000+ lbs. of tofu.
- Farm City Initiative (Propeller ’14) has facilitated over 120 agriculture redevelopment projects throughout New Orleans.
- Community Plates (Propeller ’15) has saved 9,500 fresh meals from being thrown away and delivered them to those in need.
- The Cookbook Project (Propeller ’15) has trained over 173 Food Literacy Educators to teach healthy cooking skills and nutrition education to youth, impacting an estimated 7,500 students.
- Edible Enterprises (Propeller ’15) has welcomed 16 new tenants to the only licensed food technology incubator facility in the Metro New Orleans area.
- Capstone (Propeller ’15) has distributed 2,550 pounds of fresh produce to food insecure individuals in the Lower 9th Ward. Capstone raw honey is now in 9 new retail markets and retail sales during the Startup Accelerator were over $3000.
- Top Box NOLA (Propeller ’15) sold 2086 boxes of groceries to customers in food deserts across New Orleans since starting Propeller’s Startup Accelerator.
Propeller’s Impact Accelerator
We’re always seeking entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas to address food insecurity, especially as it relates to improved access, affordability, and consumption of healthy foods for underserved communities, and building a robust local food economy. Propeller’s Impact Accelerator is designed to support entrepreneurs throughout the business lifecycle—from idea, to beta, to growth. Hands-on mentorship, access to high-level networks, pro bono technical support, and free office space, are just some of the benefits. Learn more about our Impact Accelerator, including eligibility and selection criteria, or view the online application.