Grow Dat recently hosted a Youth Anti-Violence Summit on the farm in response to the shooting on Mother’s Day which deeply touched our Grow Dat community.
It was a day of reflection, sharing, and an attempt to envision a world different than the one we inhabit today. Filmmaker John Richie screened a section of his film Shellshocked and answered questions. Youth wrote letters to someone in their lives that had been touched by gun violence, and then shared their letters with another crew member.
Crew members were invited to create two kinds of trees: an unhealthy tree that maps systems of violence in New Orleans and beyond; and a healthy tree that maps systems of individual and community-wide success, peace and happiness. Youth were encouraged to identify the roots of both trees, brainstorm what sustains the roots and helps the trees grow (the trunk), and what sort of leaves or fruit are produced by each foundation. As leaves fall from the trees and touch the earth, they become the soil that nourishes the roots, creating a system that is reinforced and recirculated over time.
Tree of Life
Tree of Violence
William Mupo from the Health Department at the Mayor’s Office shared the city’s plan to address violence, and listened to youth recommendations on what they think the city should do.
Grow Dat youth answer the question: What can the City do to improve New Orleans?
Create more job opportunities.
Make the physical environment nicer.
Identify people involved in crimes and provide them with resources to change.
Improve the NOPD.
Intervene to try to stop retaliation killings.
Create preventative solutions to violence: counseling, medical care, etc.
Create a safe community place for teens and children.
Create new teen activities in the city.
More funding for after school programs.
More things like Grow Dat.
Rebuild the movie theater and malls in the East.
Improve the school system.
Raise age range for park ball.
Build new, safe, and fun communities in the East.
Improve public school buildings and resources.
Stop selling guns (so people are unable to get them).
Our Grow Dat community extends our hearts to New Orleans in the wake of the tragic act of gun violence on Sunday.
Grow Dat Co-Director Leo Gorman is the Treasurer of the Original Big 7 Social Aid and Pleasure Club, the host of Sunday’s Mother’s Day second line parade. Multiple members of our Grow Dat community including many staff persons were present at the incident and were affected. Fortunately, no one from our Grow Dat Team was injured during the shooting.
For updates about the Big 7 and their fundriasing efforts to parade again this June and support those harmed by the shooting, visit their Facebook page.
Leo’s groove and passionate spirit will carry on!
Leo breaking it down in the splits at the beginning of the parade last Sunday
As 2011 draws to a close and we rapidly move into our hiring cycle for Grow Dat 2012, it’s important to pause and reflect on our first year. Jolissa, Teedy, Muffin, Pink, Bri and Jabari rep our successes in this sweet evaluation infographic.
Infographic designed by Justin Park of the Tulane School of Architecture
Why provide employment for young people?
Check out the purple fact: 20% of all food and beverage workers are 16 to 19 years old. That’s 6 times the proportion for all other workers. This is the national average, but some researchers suspect that this number is even higher in New Orleans.
Infographic designed by Allison Powell of the Tulane School of Architecture
At Grow Dat, we work to change the tide of industrial agriculture by promoting small-scale diversified farms, increasing access to food grown locally, and providing quality employment for young people in agriculture and food system work.
‘I’ve learned new things. How to cook. We do speeches. We also went canoeing. We do a lot of activities where we learn about each other, get to know each other, get closer… They won’t make us do anything that we don’t want to do. But they will push us to our limits and get us to try and explore new things.’ - Grow Dat Crew Member, age 16
During our pilot program last year, Grow Dat received a grant from The New Orleans Food and Farm Network (NOFFN) to develop and share our educational curriculum. We’re happy to announce that some of these lessons are now online and free for anyone to use!
About Our Curriculum:
Our educational outcomes or goals are captured in four key pillars (see below). These pillars help guide all of our decisions about what-to-include in our curriculum. Ideally, lessons are not myopic and exclusive to one pillar, but rather overlap or connect with other pillars to make a truly integrated curriculum.
The Four Pillars of our Curriculum:
Pillar 1: Youth Leadership Development
Pillar 2: Agricultural Skills
Pillar 3: Wellness
Pillar 4: Food Justice & Food Systems Pillars adapted from Urban Roots
We hope that these resources will assist many others doing food justice and farming education in New Orleans, the USA, and beyond!
A Grow Dat Cooking Class at the Whole Foods Demo Kitchen