There are food shortages across the nation, and it’s no secret around here that we have a lot of food drives. Louisiana and New Orleans constantly rank at the top of lists of places that are food insecure. But, there’s one organization that is putting the plants in the hands of the people so they can grow their own.
“At the start of the outbreak, I had been fielding a number of different emails and a number of different phone calls, ‘can you provide additional produce for us?’ Unfortunately we’re at capacity,” says Devon Turner, Executive Director of Grow Dat Youth Farm.
Grow Dat Youth Farm in City Park as kicked into over drive to keep up with the demand.
On average they push out 30,000 pounds of food during their growing season, on the seven acres of land.
“Around this time I have seen so many different people come out to the farm, to just ask if we sell or not. If they can join our CSA and hopefully next year we’ll be at like 200 members,” says Alexander Sanders, Assistant Farm Manager.
Currently they have 120 members in their program, and are limiting people on the farm to stop the spread of COVID-19. Volunteers are learning to grow at home.
To keep up with the demand and help, Grow Dat Youth Farm has provided starter plants so people at home can learn to grow on their own.
“First and foremost food is a basic human right and people need to eat. And we want to make sure that the people who are connected to us have fresh, high-quality produce,” says Turner.
The farm plans to expand to 14 acres and is working to get another batch of starter plants to people in need.
But, unlike other challenges our area has experienced, this one comes with seasonal constraints.
“A hurricane happens and then it’s over. Period. Then you can start to rebuild after that. What we’re trying to do is address and ongoing crisis moment. This is certainly a long term crisis moment. And how can we think of think about this, what do we need in three months, what do we need in six months, what do we need a nine months. Being food producers it’s not just something that you can switch on, because the growing season is what it is,” says Turner