Grant to help build virtual farmer’s market

By Melissa Canone

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has awarded a $10,000 grant to Acadiana Food Hub, a nonprofit that supports local farmers and culinary entrepreneurs in Acadiana. Acadiana Food Hub will use the funds to help build a virtual grocery store for the community.

Through the virtual grocery store, Acadiana residents will be able to order locally-farmed produce, including fruits, vegetables and other products from around the region. Waitr, a meal delivery service, will deliver the produce each Wednesday from 5 until 7 p.m. The grant from the Blue Cross Foundation will fund a facility and personnel, and will also ensure that the virtual grocery can offer a larger variety of produce that is consistently available.

“We are honored to have been chosen to receive this grant by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation,” said Zach McMath, President of Acadiana Food Hub. “This gives us the opportunity to expand our organization by introducing innovative new ideas, such as the virtual grocery, that will make an impact in our community.”

The Blue Cross Foundation made the grant award from its “New Horizons” fund, which supports pilot projects and innovation in the nonprofit sector. Michael Tipton, President of the Foundation, praised the Acadiana Food Hub as an example of how communities can collaborate for creative solutions to persistent health problems:”The Blue Cross Foundation funds this type of pilot approach specifically to find great projects like the virtual grocery store,” Tipton said. “It represents a collaboration between non-profit and for-profit businesses working together in a unique way to make healthy eating available for all. We’re very proud to be partners in this effort.” Acadiana Food Hub ensures farmers stay connected to local markets, grocers, institutions, and restaurants. This organization provides rentable incubator kitchen spaces, assists restaurateurs with startup paperwork, and more. Additionally, Acadiana Food Hub recently launched a farm-to-school initiative by supplying meals to teachers at Lafayette Parish schools, in partnership with AIM Academy and Pugh Family Foundation.For more information about Acadiana Food Hub, visit