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Louisiana Eats: Planting Seeds For Thought

Cookie Coleman, Poppy Tooker and Chef Hardette Harris in Shreveport
Chris Jay
Cookie Coleman, Poppy Tooker and Chef Hardette Harris at the Valencia Youth Garden and Urban Farm, located in Shreveport's Stoner Hill neighborhood

From community gardens in North Louisiana to village farms in Sub-Saharan Africa, local leaders are cultivating a passion for regional cuisine and sustainable agriculture. On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we learn about the push for community-driven food policy and meet some advocates who are inspiring people to think differently about how they eat.

First, we visit Mary Dumars at Valencia Youth Garden in Shreveport’s Stoner Hill neighborhood, who explains how their garden has provided a space for schoolchildren to learn how to become self-sufficient.

Poppy Tooker and Mary Dumars, President of Red River Coalition of Community Gardeners
Credit Chris Jay
Poppy Tooker and Mary Dumars, President of Red River Coalition of Community Gardeners

A couple miles down the Red River is Highland Community Garden. Cookie Coleman tells us about the ways they are building youth and community power through gardening education.

In 2015, Minden, Louisiana native Chef Hardette Harris collaborated with local government officials to create distinctly regional dishes that became the official meal of North Louisiana. We talk to Chef Hardette about her process of putting together that meal.

Then, our conversation turns global with Ugandan agronomist Edward Mukiibi. Through his 10,000 Gardens in Africa Project, Edward is working with communities throughout the continent to help reestablish ties to the land. We speak with Edward and Slow Food USA's Richard McCarthy during the New Orleans stop on their urban agricultural tour of the U.S.

Finally, we speak to our youngest guest ever on the show, Baton Rouge Episcopal High School junior Martine Cruz, about her ambitious research project that aims to promote healthy living among young people in her area through the simple act of drinking water.

We're thinking globally while growing locally on this week's Louisiana Eats!

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.