Fighting Poverty with Passion
This past month I have been focused on organizing a new program for NOFTP. I am excited to announce Planting for the Future, a project in partnership with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity! After Katrina decimated a large number of our city’s trees, New Orleans became the most de-forested city in the United States. Our goal for Planting for the Future is to increase the urban canopy and to provide more families with easy access to fresh fruit. This fall we are planting 100 citrus trees in yards of Habitat homes around the city. We are offering homeowners a choice between a Meyer lemon, satsuma or kumquat tree. We hope that once the trees have matured, families will share their citrus with their friends and neighbors or call us to harvest the fruit!
After we were featured in the Gambit and our September newsletter went out with information about Planting for the Future, responses from the community have been very encouraging. Habitat partner families have been sending in their requests for trees, members of the community have signed up to volunteer to plant trees, while others have sponsored trees by donating to Planting for the Future! We are going to start planting on October 18th and I am very excited to see the this project become a reality.
These past two weeks I have been taking part in an educational series called Green Keepers. The series was put on by Parkway Partners and funded by Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans. A variety of guest speakers taught us about green infrastructure and how we can use it to prevent flooding in our neighborhoods. On a recent trip to London I spotted something I had never seen or heard of before, a vertical garden. At the time I thought the garden was a piece of art, something to decorate Sloane Square.
When I was looking over the Green Keepers curriculum I saw there would be a session on vertical gardens! I love learning and couldn’t pass up this opportunity to learn more about vertical gardens and how they are being used for storm water management. What I did not expect to learn during this series was about some of the other VISTA sites! During one session, held at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center, I learned ways the library is capturing and reusing rainwater in a neighborhood notorious for flooding.
We toured Wilson Charter School with Joe Evans who designed and installed a large cistern that is being used to capture storm water and reusing it for other purposes. Dana Eness from the Urban Conservancy spoke about how they are addressing flooding issues through their new project called the Front Yard Initiative. I also learned about the work the Tulane City Center is doing to design and install green infrastructure in New Orleans by visiting the Magellan Street Garden. It was so great to learn the purpose of that vertical garden, but even better was the surprise to learn my fellow VISTAs are also fellow “Green Keepers.”