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GoNOLA Find: Grow Dat Youth Farm

New Orleans’s selection of farmers markets and other purveyors of local produce and other goods continues to proliferate. There’s the Crescent City Farmers Market, which appears in several parts of the city throughout the week, and Hollygrove Market and Farm, which offers farmers market goods during grocery store hours; the New Orleans Food Co-Op, which sells local and organic goods at fair prices; and the local outpost of Good Eggs, which delivers local goods to your house — and those are just a few examples. It seems that New Orleans is poised to become a city where local, sustainable food is ubiquitous, especially considering that the next generation of residents is becoming immersed in the world of urban agriculture. Grow Dat Youth Farm is one place where this is happening.

Grow Dat Youth Farm’s offices are made out of recycled shipping containers. (Photo: Lauren LaBorde)

Today’s GoNOLA Find is not only doing great things by providing safe and educational after-school job opportunities to New Orleans high school students, the Grow Dat campus itself is a striking find to stumble upon while exploring City Park. The vision of the Tulane City Center at the Tulane School of Architecture, the bright-green building is made out out recycled shipping containers, a big architectural trend at the moment. Inside, the structure includes offices, a kitchen for cooking classes, handling areas for produce — and composting toilets!

Youth in the farm’s leadership program receive a hands-on education in the process of food production, from farm to table. The students are involved in growing, cooking, eating and selling the food.

Ride your bike along the path in City Park (I like to start by the Big Lake in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art and take a cool spin around the water) and then continue down the path to find the farm by the intersection of Zachary Taylor Drive and Golf Drive. The farm sells its produce at local farmers markets and on the City Park campus, and you can often find Grow Dat’s goods in menu items at New Orleans restaurants. The farm also offers “learning tours” for adults interested in the operation. Check the website for details.

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