What is the mission of Grow Dat Youth Farm?
The mission of Grow Dat Youth Farm is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food. On our farm we work collaboratively to produce healthy food for local residents and to inspire youth and adults to create personal, social and environmental change in their own communities. Grow Dat is a place where people from different backgrounds and disciplines come together in research and practice to support public health, local economies, and a sustainable food system in South Louisiana.
Where is Grow Dat located?
Grow Dat Youth Farm is located on a 7-acre site in City Park at 150 Zachary Taylor Drive. Providing a central location accessible by public transportation, the farm is an educational destination for young people and residents alike.
How do teenagers get a job at Grow Dat?
Grow Dat Youth Farm creates job opportunities for high school students in the field of urban agriculture. Grow Dat currently hires youth from nine strategic partner schools across the city of New Orleans. In order to work at Grow Dat, youth must submit a written application and letter of recommendation and attend a half-day interview. Grow Dat strategically hires from this pool a diverse group of youth with a range of existing leadership skills.
How many youth work at Grow Dat and what do they do?
Youth employees, called Crew Members, complete a 20-week job training program at Grow Dat. During the school year youth work one half-day a week and on Saturdays, and four days a week for the month of June. Over the course of the 20 week intensive job training program, each youth employee earns $1,650 and spends 50% of their time in leadership training to enhance their capacity to communicate, solve problems and work in diverse settings. Focused on four core elements—leadership, agriculture, wellness and food justice training—graduates leave with transferable skills that support them in work, home and school settings.
What happens to youth after they graduate from the program?
Graduates can stay connected to Grow Dat by applying for tiered-leadership positions in our Advanced Leadership Program (ALP), a rigorous fall training program which prepares youth to lead next year’s Leadership Program. These Assistant Crew Leader positions require youth to manage and teach their peers, further fostering their leadership development.
In addition to leadership positions within the organization, we offer both educational and career support services for graduates. A variety of alumni events throughout the year offer graduates opportunities to stay connected to one another and to our community.
How much food is grown on the farm and where does it go?
In the Leadership Program, teenagers grow 25,000 pounds of food. 70% of food grown is sold and 30% becomes our Shared Harvest–food donated, bartered and sold at a subsidized cost to residents who traditionally lack access to fresh and local food.
We have a Farm Share (CSA) program, a weekly on-site Farm Stand, a weekly booth at the Crescent City Farmer’s Market, and our produce is sold wholesale to a variety of premiere New Orleans restaurants.
How did Grow Dat get started?
Inspired by existing K-8th grade food education programs in New Orleans, most notably the Edible Schoolyard, the concept for the Grow Dat Youth Farm grew out of the strong partnership between the Tulane City Center, the New Orleans Food and Farm Network and the New Orleans City Park. Grow Dat is heavily modeled on a similar program in the northeast, The Food Project, which currently hires over 140 youth to grow over 200,000 pounds of food per year.
Check out the short film below to find out more about our organizational history.
How is Tulane University involved in the project?
Grow Dat is a social entrepreneurship initiative originally developed by food education consultants at Clean Plate Projects, LLC, and incubated by multiple departments within Tulane University, primarily Tulane City Center and the Office for Social Entrepreneurship. Staff of Clean Plate Projects developed all programmatic elements while Tulane City Center (TCC) designed and developed physical components of the project, including the master plan for the farm and Grow Dat's “Eco Campus.” As with all TCC projects, structures on the farm were developed with specific attention to our regional climate and energy efficiency.
Learn more about our social innovation origins in this case study by Mary Bryan of Tulane University.
Learn more about our partnership with Tulane University in this short film about our organizational history.
How do I get involved?
There are a variety of ways to support our work! Visit our Get Involved tab for more information.