Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Grow Dat Youth Farm

Grow Dat Youth Farm

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Kaid Benfield

In a city that is perhaps the country’s most culturally rich, it is a bit surprising that the large city park in its heart is called, well, City Park. But don’t mistake the generic name for a place devoid of special activity. Indeed, at the heart of New Orleans City Park is the much more colorfully named Grow Dat Youth Farm, which is developing a sense of responsibility, community, environmental stewardship and service among city high school kids through the collaborative work of growing food.

Grow Dat grew out of a partnership developed between the Tulane University City Center, the New Orleans Food and Farm Network, and City Park.  It’s program is pretty sophisticated. From Grow Dat’s website:

“The farm works with several high schools and youth organizations throughout New Orleans to recruit a diverse and committed group of youth who develop leadership and life skills during their intensive, hands-on work experience. Through a structured application process, Grow Dat conscientiously recruits a mix of students: 20% of whom have already demonstrated leadership skills inside or outside of school, 20% of whom are at- risk of poor performance at school, and 60% of whom are students that are neither excelling nor failing at school. Programmatic success is defined by students’ consistent participation in the program, their increased ability to communicate effectively with other students and staff, and their ability to achieve production goals on the farm . . .

“Over the 19-week program, youth participants learn a variety of skills related to growing, cooking and selling organic vegetables and fruit. Full time Grow Dat staff have created a curriculum that includes lessons on sustainable agriculture, cooking, communication and team- building, economics, nutrition and community health, food systems, and the agricultural history of our region.”

 

The students must commit to a work schedule, for which they are paid. In addition to the work they perform on site, they are expected to take their experience to the larger community:

“Working in rotating teams, students take on the responsibility for selling food at farmers’ markets and preparing food for homeless or underserved populations. In addition to these hands-on activities, students also participate in a highly-structured system for enhancing their communication skills called ‘Real Talk’. . . In addition to improved communication skills, students are also trained on time management, effective strategies for team work, and public speaking–all skills that can be broadly applied in future jobs.”

The farm enjoys a central location accessible by public transportation. It is located on a four-acre site in City Park, with two acres of cultivable land.

 

Grow Dat’s most recent quarterly report notes the friendly competition that the students have had at a local farmers’ market to see which crew could sell out first, and also that every kid had the opportunity to prepare and serve their produce at a free monthly breakfast hosted at a local church. Over three months they served more than 300 meals, learning “important, and sometimes surprising, lessons about what the face of hunger in our community looks like.” 

With the assistance of the Tulane School of Architecture, buildings on the site have been designed to serve the program. The campus includes green building innovations for the facilities, including an outdoor classroom, a teaching kitchen, locker rooms, administrative offices and large post-harvest handling areas.

The students have grown more than 7,000 pounds of food, donating a third to needy families; still under development, Grow Dat hopes to produce up to 40,000 pounds by 2014. So far every participant has reported satisfaction with the development of leadership and work skills. Watch this great video about the farm and its program, and hear the kids talk about their experiences:

Visit EcoWatch’s SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE page for more related news on this topic.

 

In an ad released by Republican Voters Against Trump, former coronavirus task force member Olivia Troye roasted the president for his response. Republican Voters Against Trump / YouTube

Yet another former Trump administration staffer has come out with an endorsement for former Vice President Joe Biden, this time in response to President Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Climate Group

Every September for the past 11 years, non-profit the Climate Group has hosted Climate Week NYC, a chance for business, government, activist and community leaders to come together and discuss solutions to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A field of sunflowers near the Mehrum coal-fired power station, wind turbines and high-voltage lines in the Peine district of Germany on Aug. 3, 2020. Julian Stratenschulte / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Elliot Douglas

The coronavirus pandemic has altered economic priorities for governments around the world. But as wildfires tear up the west coast of the United States and Europe reels after one of its hottest summers on record, tackling climate change remains at the forefront of economic policy.

Read More Show Less
Monarch butterflies in Mexico's Oyamel forest in Michoacan, Mexico after migrating from Canada. Luis Acosta / AFP / Getty Images

By D. André Green II

One of nature's epic events is underway: Monarch butterflies' fall migration. Departing from all across the United States and Canada, the butterflies travel up to 2,500 miles to cluster at the same locations in Mexico or along the Pacific Coast where their great-grandparents spent the previous winter.

Read More Show Less
The 30th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony on Sept. 17 introduced ten new Ig Nobel Prize winners, each intended to make people "laugh then think." Improbable Research / YouTube

The annual Ig Nobel prizes were awarded Thursday by the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research for scientific experiments that seem somewhat absurd, but are also thought-provoking. This was the 30th year the awards have been presented, but the first time they were not presented at Harvard University. Instead, they were delivered in a 75-minute pre-recorded ceremony.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch