Youth Inspiration: Alum Valentina's Speech at Grow Dat's 5th Graduation

On Saturday, June 27, 2015 we were proud to honor the graduates from our 5th Leadership Program. Valentina, Grow Dat class of 2014, came out to the farm and generously offered her reflections to the graduating Crew Members. Below are her thoughtful words that we thought you might enjoy, too.

My name is Valentina. I graduated from Grow Dat one year ago, and am now a Biology major at LSU. I came today to share with you my experiences and lessons that I carry with me because of Grow Dat. I want to tell you how Grow Dat impacted me, and of course also congratulate all of you for finishing the 2015 Leadership Program.

When I first learned about this youth led farm on City Park, I could just picture myself gardening, planting, and being outdoors. Never did I think that I would encounter such a diverse and open-minded group of people that would teach me to be patient and accepting. A school classroom could not have taught me what I learned at Grow Dat. Because of Grow Dat’s workshops and discussions, I became so passionate about topics that I never gave much thought to: I became an advocate for issues such as farmer’s rights, immigration and food justice. I also learned a great deal about minimum-wage jobs in fast food chains, sexual orientation, and social and economic groups that I was rarely surrounded by as I lived most of my life in Latin America and was raised in Catholic School until I entered college. Grow Dat taught me to try on, to practice self-focus, to not blame shame or judge, and taught me that’s it’s OK to disagree.

I met some truly wonderful people who inspired me to nourish and care for the only body we have. I talked to farmers who showed me what hard work really is, and how rewarding it is to provide food for American families. I became friends with people who gave up endless hours to serve breakfast for the homeless at Crescent City Café, and became influenced by fulfilled and happy people who shopped at the farmer’s markets. I have all of these experiences and connections because of Grow Dat.
As an alum, I have shared my successes and hard times with the staff and dear friends, I have continued participating in Crescent City Café, and supporting local farms. Most importantly I have found myself through service and agriculture and I have found a family.

I hope my experiences have inspired you to stop and think about what you want to take away from your experiences here at Grow Dat.  

Again, congratulations to all of you. Thank you!

Valentina (on far right) preparing a delicious Community Lunch with Chef "Dook" of Dooky Chase Restaurant and Crew Member Dana.

Just Released: Hootenanny AUCTION

Silent and LIVE Auction: Don't Miss It!

Bid in the silent and live auctions at the Hootenanny on these items! Grateful for the contributions by so many local artists, musicians, farmers and businesses.

Good Eggs Louisiana Local basket. Enjoy this local goodies basket from our friends at Good Eggs!  Min Bid: $20

Indywood Movie Theater Season Pass. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a season of provocative Indie films in the Marigny! Min Bid: $20

Buff Beauty Bar complimentary hair blowout and conditioning treatment. Min Bid: $20

Pistil and Stamen 4- Week Flower Share. Freshen up this spring with a bundle of locally grown and harvested flowers for 4 weeks! Min Bid:$25

Louisiana Children's Museum 2 Family Admission Pass 
Let your imagination run wild in New Orleans' most playful place for children and families.  Min Bid: $25

Drago's Seafood Restaurant Original Charbroiled Oysters Kit
including 3 dozen fresh Louisiana raw oysters, 1 pint Drago's Charbroiling Sauce, 1 pint Drago's Charbroiling Cheese, 36 aluminum cooking shells and New Orleans-style French Bread. Min Bid: $30

Autographed Local CD Package from local artists Creole String Beans, Clarence Johnson III, Johnny Sketch, and Beth Patterson! Min Bid: $30

$50 certificate to Fulton Alley: Strike up a good time while out "Boutique Bowling" and enjoying craft food and drink! Min Bid: $35

Enjoy an uptown night off with $25 to Ye Olde College Inn, Admission for 2 people to Rock 'n' Bowl, complimentary bowling shoe rental, and 2 drinks! Min Bid: $30
Ten-Class Pass at Dancing Grounds: Valid for any of their over 15 different course offerings! Min Bid: $40

Lazy Boy Roll-Down Messenger Backpack from First World Trash
Lower your footprint in style with this custom bag made of repurposed billboards, seat belts, and bike inner tubes. Min Bid: $50

Magnum Rose Champagne (6 bottles!) Add this champagne to your perfect evening in; whether celebrating New Year’s, a new job or just a new day! Min Bid: $55 (per bottle)
$100 Gift certificate and cookbook from Galatoire's 33 Bar & Steak. Min Bid: $55

Basin Street Records Full 12-CD catalog. Min Bid: $70

Bring a beautiful reminder of this city we call home into your home with this one-of-a-kind watercolor by local artist Lauren J. Andrews. Min Bid: $80

Get in shape while feeling good with Synergistic Lifestyles 20-pack of fit meals! Min Bid: $100

One night stay in Deluxe Accomodations at the Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Min Bid: $110

Add the perfect accent to any occasion with elegant handcrafted earrings by Amy Conway. Min Bid: $120
$100 gift card and set of 3 signed John Besh cookbooks. Min Bid: $120

The afternoon is yours at Le Salon, in Windsor Court's lobby, which serves an afternoon tea that is as elegant and gracious as its setting. Min Bid:$120

50-Minute Swedish Massage, 50-minute Classic Court Facial, and the Princess Nail Care (manicure and pedicure) at The Spa at Windsor Court! Min Bid: $150
Refresh and renew your body with two one-hour massages, two yoga classes, and two physical therapy sessions at Magnolia Physical Therapy. Min Bid:$160

Make a splash this summer with Love Swimming gift certificate for a free pool party, and a swim bucket with goggles, swim cap, dive toys, rubber ducks, youth and adult tees! Min Bid: $185
Handmade one-of-a-kind mirror with ceramic flowers by Erika Bosse. Min Bid: $200
Contemporary Painting "Pink, Champagne Bubbles Kiss" by International Contemporary Artist Oleysa. Min Bid: $280

A one week ski or hiking vacation at a beautiful 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom condo at the Telluride Lodge! Min Bid: $800

One night stay in a full suite at the Windsor Court Hotel; complimentary dinner at the Grill Room paired with a bottle of wine from the sommelier; and a $500 shopping spree at The Shops at Canal Place. Min Bid: $1,000