Grow Dat shares organic bounty with New Orleans tables

grow dat
High school students in the Grow Dat program pack boxes of vegetables and herbs from the City Park farm. (Photo from Grow Dat Youth Farm) 

The Grow Dat Youth Farm grew 8,500 pounds of produce in 2013 on 1.25 acres in New Orleans City Park. Its founder and executive director, Johanna Gilligan, expects that bounty to be 10,000 pounds this year, so the nonprofit farm is selling “market shares” to customers who want weekly boxes of freshly picked vegetables and herbs.

It’s a way to bring home Grow Dat’s organically grown produce and support the youth leadership program for students from six partner high schools.

“If you are inspired by work we’re doing, one of the best ways to support our work is by buying our produce,” says Gilligan, a Tulane alumna who was an Urban Innovator fellow on campus. “Growing food, selling it and sharing it with the community alongside teenagers who need opportunities to grow and develop — it’s such a joy to do that kind of work with them.”

With the market share plan, members pay up front for a share of the season’s produce. There are four membership levels, ranging from $225 to $540 for 15 weekly produce boxes that must be picked up at the farm each Saturday. Members share the bounty as well as the risk associated with the unpredictable nature of farming, but “we promise to do our best to provide you with a bountiful share each week,” Gilligan says.

Grow Dat donates 40 percent of its produce and sells 60 percent to restaurants and retail outlets —its kale will be sold at the new Whole Foods Market on Broad Street. Look for Grow Dat produce at a Crescent City Farmers Market and at a stand at the farm, both on Saturdays.

Tulane is one of a number of the farm’s local partners, and students from the School of Architecture, working through the Tulane City Center outreach program, developed a master plan for the Grow Dat site in 2011 and constructed its classrooms and offices.



Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000