A Goodbye from Johanna and an Exciting Look Forward
Dear Grow Dat Family,
After seven years as the Founding Director of Grow Dat Youth Farm, I’m stepping down to pursue a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The fellowship will give me time to explore how land-based education, like the work we do at Grow Dat, can transform our existing educational approach into a more experiential learning model that enhances the relationship young adults have to land and to one another. I truly believe that connecting young adults to land and to one another can change the way they think about themselves and the world around them. I hope my work at Harvard will make this kind of opportunity available to many more young people, here in New Orleans and beyond.
I am very proud of all that we’ve done together at Grow Dat as we’ve created the largest farm in the city—a place where over 250 young adults have collectively grown 90,000 pounds of produce for the New Orleans community. I feel much gratitude for having been entrusted with leadership at Grow Dat by youth and their families as well as by the board and staff. I am confident the organization’s work will grow and evolve in new and exciting ways in the coming years.
Although I’m leaving my role, my heart remains in this work. To that end, I’m establishing a fundraising campaign to support Grow Dat alumni as they work to increase food justice in our city. Alumni will team up with partner organizations to build gardens, lead cooking classes, and provide other support that partners want to make sure they have access to healthy food. At Grow Dat I’ve been privileged to witness firsthand the power young adults have to create change, and I want to help Grow Dat build out this exciting new platform for youth as food justice leaders.
Please help me leave a legacy that gives the brilliant youth in our city the space to fully live in to their potential. I invite you to contribute to my personal goal of raising $75,000 for Grow Dat through contributing to my fundraising campaign here. I can think of no more fitting way to celebrate my last seven years of work than to invest in young leaders and their visions for a just food system.
Effective July 17, Grow Dat's Assistant Director Mike Kantor is stepping into the role of Interim Director. Staff and board will finalize details regarding the executive search process over the next month. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request additional information when it is available.