FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Grow Dat Youth Farm raises a new crop of New Orleans leaders.
April 5th, 2015 by: Lianna Patch
Tucked into City Park, Grow Dat Youth Farm has turned four acres of an abandoned golf course into two full acres of cultivable land, where local high school students learn to plant, raise and harvest organic crops. The organization’s Website explains, “On our farm, we work collaboratively to produce healthy food for local residents, and to inspire youth and adults to create personal, social and environmental change in their own communities.”
Tulane City Center, at the Tulane School of Architecture, led Grow Dat’s site development and designed the campus where youth crew members can learn in an outdoor classroom and cook in a teaching kitchen. Crew members from six different partner schools can apply to join Grow Dat and are paid for the time they spend working. They spend 20 weeks in an intensive training program that focuses just as much on leadership training, food justice, wellness and nutrition as it does on agriculture. That’s not to mention playing games every day. “Games are an essential part of our work at Grow Dat — they foster communication and help reinvigorate our spirits for the hard work ahead,” explains the organization’s 2014 annual report.
“On our farm, we work collaboratively to produce healthy food for local residents, and and adults to create personal, social and environmental change in their own communities.”
Grow Dat has sold and given away more than 25,000 pounds of food since its inception in 2011. This past January, the organization opened a farm stand in City Park; there, its
youth farmers sell fresh produce from 9 am to noon every Saturday. growdatyouthfarm.org