Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF)

The Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF) supports non-profit organizations that provide educational programs, life skills development, culinary training, and cultural enrichment.

EMH Strategy assisted ELF with the creation of a feasibility study for a culinary and agricultural endeavor, Emeril’s City Farm (ECF), located in New Orleans with the mission to serve as an educational destination that would connect farm to plate, teaching sustainable farming and healthy cooking.

EMH consultants were tasked to form the operational, organizational, programmatic, and financial structures of the farm, as well as a sustainable growth strategy and clear vision for the farm moving forward. This work served as the infrastructure upon which ELF was able to make a decision on the feasibility of the project. The EMH deliverables provided extensive detail on every aspect of the project, from the structure of activities for a typical week at the farm, to the mix of revenue generating forces.

Chef Emeril had a vision for this project, and EMH executed the necessary tasks to transform that vision into reality. ECF was able to conceptually build upon existing strengths within ELF’s organization and community presence, but the project still required an innovative and unique business model. The underlying approach of EMH consultants was to design a growth strategy that would make the project unique, identifiable, and financially sustainable—the same three characteristics we inject into every strategy we develop—in order to allow ELF to make a clear and prudent decision.  

  1. Unique: ECF is distinguished in its mission, urban setting, large size (18 acres), and organic farming practices.
  2. Identifiable: No existing institution in the U.S. offers ECF’s distinctive mix of farming, cooking, and public access programming. In addition, ECF is the only urban farm located in the Southeastern United States. 
  3. Financially Sustainable: EMH ensured that ECF would achieve financial sustainability through a combination of earned revenue and philanthropic donation streams. Commercial revenues are derived from the ECF’s three main operating divisions (education, hospitality, and farm), and philanthropic donations come from membership fees, grants, and a capital campaign.


This collaborative work culminated in an 80+ page document that presented all EMH qualitative and quantitative analysis on the farm in the following areas: opportunity analysis, project description and mission, market analysis, programming, operations, and financial analysis. This document helped guide Emeril’s team by serving as a functional road map covering every aspect of ECF and all strategic implications for managerial decision-making moving forward. The study highlighted the current strengths of the organization, and also demonstrated what areas might need to be enhanced in order to implement ECF in New Orleans.