Grant Helps Grow Youth Farm

August 9, 2011 5:45 AM

Maureen King

Grow Dat Youth Farm, a community outreach project supported by Tulane University, will continue teaching New Orleans high school students the business of farming thanks in part to a Capital One Bank grant designed to foster economic vitality in the region.

Tulane Empowers

Grow Dat

Tahjee Brown is participating in Grow Dat Youth Farm to learn about the art of growing vegetables. (Photos from the Tulane School of Architecture)

Tulane was one of four local nonprofits to receive a $75,000 “Investing for Good” award at an Aug. 4 ceremony. The gift supports two years of programming for Grow Dat Youth Farm, a collaborative venture that engages youth in the meaningful work of growing food.

“Grow Dat is so much more than a job,” says advisory board member Tony Lee. “These young people have life goals and they are seeing the future from a different perspective.”

This summer, seven Tulane architecture students are designing and building a permanent home for the farm in New Orleans City Park. Students have cleared an invasive tree species from the site and are completing the extensive foundations that will support Grow Dat’s classroom and agriculture buildings. June marked the end of the pilot year, but operations will resume in January when architecture students complete the City Park facility.

Grow Dat group

Tulane architecture students are preparing the Grow Dat site at City Park this summer.

Grow Dat is one of Tulane City Center’s most popular programs, partnering local high schools with not just the School of Architecture but also the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, Tulane’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiatives and the School of Medicine.

The farm aims to produce 10,000 pounds of food in its first year at City Park. Ultimately, 40 percent of the farm goods will be donated and 60 percent will be sold at an on-site market or to local vendors, says director Johanna Gilligan, a 2003 Newcomb College graduate and Tulane Innovator Fellow.

Steve Hemperley, bank president for the New Orleans market, presented the check to Kenneth Schwartz, dean of the Tulane School of Architecture; Scott Bernhard, City Center director; and Lee at a reception at the New Orleans Arena.

Maureen King is a writer in the Office of Development.

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