Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Grow Dat Youth Farm of New Orleans

May has been a very exciting month for Grow Dat. Our spring session has ended yet our summer session starts on June 3rd.

During this month we grew cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, yellow squash, arugula, and many other vegetables. I must say, our tomatoes are extremely delicious. In fact, before this year I didn’t eat tomatoes. However, I was hooked after tasting our homegrown product. Unfortunately, lately stink bugs have attacked our tomatoes and have destroyed some of our crops.

The students have enhanced their cooking skills this month through various classes and lessons. Recently they were provided vegetables, sauces and cooking utensils in a challenge to create their own pasta. Normally they are provided recipes but it was nice to see them experiment with different spices and even more exciting to see their faces when tasting their own creation. Many of the vegetables and spices were of course grown at Grow Dat!

On May 7th, we hosted what’s called an “Inequality Feast” for our students. The banquet shed light on the imbalances inherent in the global food system by serving three distinct levels of meals with varying levels of dining comfort. The first group was served an elaborate meal, including chicken, bread, corn, rice, juice, and various fruits. They were escorted to the room with a nice big table with chairs and served liked royalty. The first group also ate on the finest china money could buy. The other two groups had no table so they ate on the floor. Group two had rice and beans with plastic utensils for usage and water to drink. The third group had a bowl of rice and a picture of water.

This was a simulation to show the extreme differences in food access across the world. The thought tugged at my heart that this was very real for many in our world. None of the kids who had to sit on the floor sat on the floor nor did they eat any of their food. Those from group one were concerned about their friends who did not receive the same treatment as them. Eventually all groups were allowed to sit at the big table along with group one.

– Jabari Brown, AmeriCorps VISTA Visit Grow Dat Youth Farm, to learn more about their outreach program and volunteer opportunities.


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Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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