“People need a place where they can be the person they would be without their peers or what society says they are supposed to be. People need a place to go and clear their mind from all the challenges of the world and figure out who they really are. That’s Grow Dat.” -Youth Crew Member, Grow Dat Youth Farm
Each year, as the holidays roll into still-humid New Orleans, our farm encourages lovers of food and farming across the country to join our alternative gift campaign, Growing the Green. The holiday emphasis on gift-giving can become bogged down in scratchy socks or electronics that are obsolete as soon as the wrapping paper is pulled off the gift. But with Growing the Green and Grow Dat Youth Farm, we direct that gift-giving urge towards doing social good with a lasting impact.
Growing the Green gifts underwrite Grow Dat’s Shared Harvest produce and youth work time on the farm. Forty percent of what is grown on our seven-acre urban farm is our Shared Harvest – food that is donated to those in New Orleans who need it most. In 2015 we will hire 40 new youth employees who are paid to work and learn in Grow Dat’s intensive five-month Leadership Program. In response to donations and gifts to Growing the Green, beautiful ‘Thanks for Giving’ cards are sent out, which correspond to giving levels and are perfect gifts for everyone from garden lovers to foodies to educators.
The mission of the Grow Dat Youth Farm is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. Young people come to our sustainable farm in the heart of New Orleans from across the city to work together. There, they grow food and their own leadership skills. The need for quality youth jobs and increased food access is great, as youth unemployment in the city is high and Hurricane Katrina deepened hunger rates and further enhanced disparities in access to fresh food.
Learn more about the incredible young people who fostering change in their own lives and their communities in this short video about our work.