Press: Resources

MEDIA Q&A

Writing or reporting about Grow Dat? Please check out our Q&A below for answers to common questions.

*Media inquiries can be directed to Johanna Gilligan, Grow Dat Co-Director, at johanna@growdatyouthfarm.org or 504.377.8395

What is the mission of Grow Dat Youth Farm?

The Grow Dat Youth Farm’s mission 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?

The Grow Dat Youth Farm is located on a 4-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 students 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 five partner schools: New Orleans Charter Math and Science High School, Warren Easton Charter High School, De La Salle High School, Joseph S. Clark High School and The NET Charter High School. 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 in June. Over the course of the 20 week intensive job training program, each youth employee earns $1550 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 during the intensive 20 week job training program. These Assistant Crew Leader positions require youth to manage and teach their peers, further fostering their leadership development. In the fall of 2012, we will launch our Grow Dat Internships which will connect graduates to work creating backyard and school gardens and educating peers and the public about health and wellness.

How much food is grown on the farm and where does it go?

From February through June, 2012, 20 teenagers will grow 10,000 pounds of food. 60% of food grown is sold and 40% becomes our “Shared Harvest”–food donated to residents without access to fresh, local, organically grown food. This year youth will sell produce each week at the Sankofa Farmers Market (3500 St. Claude Ave., Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm). Produce is also being sold to Hollygrove Market and Farm, Jack and Jake’s and the Link Restaurant group. Shared Harvest is distributed by youth to their families and neighbors, donated to the Crescent City Cafe (a free monthly breakfast at Rayne Memorial Church) where crew members prepare and serve a free meal featuring their produce, and distributed to multiple pantry kitchens through a partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.

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 is in its 20th year and currently hires over 140 youth to grow over 200,000 pounds of food per year.

How is Tulane University involved in the project?

Grow Dat is a social entrepreneurship initiative being 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 have developed all programmatic elements while Tulane City Center (TCC) has designed and developed physical components of the project, including the master plan for the farm and the Grow Dat “campus”. As with all TCC projects, structures on the farm are developed with specific attention to our regional climate and energy efficiency.

How do I get involved?

A variety of ways to volunteer time and resources or donate to Grow Dat exist! Click here for more information.

Youth crew members sell fresh and all-natural produce at Farmer's Markets around New Orleans