Just released: Grow Dat’s Annual Report

Enjoy highlights and successes from fiscal year 2013-2014 and a roll call of our incredible supporters in our beautiful Annual Report!


Annual Report


Youth Speak: On Not Being Afraid to be Yourself

I loved working with the people here. Everybody is open minded. No one is judgmental. No one is negative. Everyone is uplifting all the time and I love them for that. Everybody in my crew was supportive of me. They said ‘you are not afraid to be yourself’, and that’s what I think people here were like. Everyone could just be themselves.

“I loved working with the people here. Everybody is open minded. No one is judgmental. No one is negative. Everyone is uplifting all the time and I love them for that. Everybody in my crew was supportive of me. They said ‘you are not afraid to be yourself’, and that’s what I think people here were like. Everyone could just be themselves.” -Youth Crew Member

Grow Dat creates a safe and rigorous environment that challenges young people while supporting them in their growth. Please join our Growing the Green alternative gift campaign to support our work.

Growing the Green 2013!

Grow Dat Youth Farm is excited to announce the launch of Growing the Green 2013 – our annual alternative gift campaign.

Support our work by giving the gift of quality youth employment and fresh produce to those in need. Select giving levels for everyone on your list this season (see gift options list). You will be mailed corresponding “Thanks for Giving” cards that you can share with your loved ones. The perfect gift for everyone on your list. Give now


Meaningful gifts for everyone on your list!

Sometimes people need a place where they can be the person that they would be without their peers, or what society says they are supposed to be. People need a place where they can go and clear their mind from all the challenges of the world and figure out who they really are. That’s what Grow Dat is.
-Youth Crew Member, 2013

More about Grow Dat: all youth interns go through a rigorous interview and application process, and are paid during their tenure at the organization. Since 2011, Grow Dat has graduated 56 youth from the intensive leadership program, has engaged over 6,000 children and adults in farm education through volunteer activities and field trips, and has harvested over 20,000 pounds of sustainably grown produce for New Orleans. 60% of this produce is sold at local farmers’ markets or served at some of the city’s top restaurants, and 40% is donated to those in need through our “Shared Harvest” initiative.

Gift Options for “Thanks for Giving” cards: 

Sample Thanks for Giving card

Sample Thanks for Giving card

  • $5.00 two pounds of Shared Harvest produce for NOLA families in need
  • $25.00 ten pounds of Shared Harvest produce for NOLA families in need
  • $55.00 youth crew member’s weekly stipend in the spring program
  • $100.00 forty pounds of Shared Harvest produce for NOLA families in need
  • $210.00 youth crew member’s weekly stipend in the intensive summer program
  • $1,660.00 youth crew member’s weekly salary for the entire 5-month leadership program

To donate and order cards, visit our online fundraising center

We are deeply grateful for your generosity and commitment to our work!

Give the gift of quality youth employment or shared harvest for the holidays

Give the gift of quality youth employment or shared harvest for the holidays!

Youth Speak: On the National Youth Climate Exchange

NYCE Climate Fellows on the last day of the retreat in Pennsylvania.

“I am a climate activist”: NYCE youth Climate Fellows on the last day of the retreat in Pennsylvania.

For the last six months, three Grow Dat alums have worked as Policy Interns with the National Youth Climate Exchange (NYCE) organized by Global Kids. The NYCE culminated in a 3-day retreat outside of Washington, DC with youth activists convening from New York, DC, West Virginia and New Orleans. Attending the retreat was a powerful experience for all involved. Here youth report back back their experience and the connections they are making between sustainable agriculture, New Orleans and climate instability.

2013-04-05 14.06.57 copyI’m Joshua and I go to De La Salle high school in New Orleans, Louisiana. This spring I was hired to work with Global Kids and Grow Dat to help with the growing problem of our world’s eco systems falling apart. I joined Grow Dat to learn more about our eco system. I wanted to learn how to grow plants sustainably, and I knew that Grow Dat would teach us how how sustainable agriculture differs from industrially-grown food. I wanted to get involved with National Youth Climate Exchange because I believe in what they are working for: climate justice. I wanted to do my part to help with the NYCE mission and to learn more about our planet and the people who try and save it. After joining NYCE, I was inspired by all the youth who came from different places and the stories they shared. I was also inspired by the many enviornmental activists we learned about – their stories about how they risk and sacrifice so much to help their homes and the planet. I was also very surprised to hear about the tragic story of how coal mining is destroying the mountains and societies around them. I was un-aware of how coal let into the air and water supplies can cause many diseases to spread through communities, and that no one is doing much to prevent it.

The knowledge I acquired at the NYCE has helped me understand how important it is that we farm without pesticides at Grow Dat. Not only do pesticides affect our food and the people who eat them, but they can destroy the environment slowly over time as they infect the water and plants that animals need to survive. If we want to keep farming using clean methods then we also need to keep the environment clean. The climate greatly affects how our food grows. If the warmer seasons end faster or are too long it can cause foods to die before we can harvest them and limit what foods we can grow in New Orleans. We rely on the earth to grow our food and by destroying it we destroy our food supply and the quality of the food.
Going the NYCE showed me how I can help keep my town and its people healthy and aware of the problems. We can work together as a city to keep our food clean and healthy.

Amber Hi my name is Amber and I am a senior at New Orleans Science and Mathematics High School in New Orleans. I work at the Grow Dat Youth Farm where I will be an Intern again this fall. I got involved with the National Youth Climate Exchange (NYCE), because I wanted to know more about what was going on around the country climate-wise. I was never aware of the problems that other places were facing –  like mountain top removal – so when I learned about it I was very surprised. I never thought about how serious some of our enviornmental problems are. At the retreat I learned a lot but the thing that I took with me was that we as youth have a very powerful voice and all we have to do is use it to make what we want happen. Climate change is important to our work at Grow Dat because we use organic methods to grow vegetables. We do this so that we don’t damage the only land that we have. By us growing food for communities in New Orleans, there are less ‘food miles’: the food is fresher and it doesn’t have to travel a lot of miles to get to the consumer. Local food reduces the use of fossil fuels for transportation.
It was amazing to work with youth from many different cities. I hope that we can meet again one day to talk about the progress that we are making in our communties.

Kamau I am Kamau and I am a Junior at Warren Easton High School. I worked at Grow Dat last year as a Crew Member. I am currently on staff at Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools and I sit on the Restorative Justice Committee. I am also the founder of Be a Helping Hand Foundation. I am currently working on music with my sister.
I had a very great time at The National Youth Climate Exchange (NYCE) retreat. Climate connects with agriculture in millions of different ways. Climate change alters weather patterns which has great effect on how we grow our crops or if we can grow the same crops at all. Below is the statement I wrote after attending the retreat which I shared with my school Principal, employers, environmental mentor and others.

“On April 4 – 7, I went to Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. We The National Youth Climate Exchange or NYCE, learned about climate change. We learned about environmental problems in New Orleans and also problems elsewhere such mountain top removal. I met many youth activists, such as Londan, Herminia, Leslie, Makayla, Elmu, Redwan, and Samri. Many of those names don’t sound American: the NYCE is a diverse group of activists coming from Honduras, Mexico, Africa and Bangladesh, although we all now live in America. I also worked with New Orleans’ very own Amber and Joshua.

We shared personal stories about dealing with climate change.One climate story that really stood out to me was told by two teenagers from West Virginia who are activists with Build-It-Up West Virginia. Their story was about mountain top removal, which is the process of exploding mountains to mine out coal. Many West Virginians have well water, which comes from a well underground rather than city water. The well water where they live is contaminated with chemicals from mountain top removal. Many of these chemicals have caused people to develop cancer, asthma, and other breathing problems. Many of the people affected are kids. The chemicals are not only in the well water, they are also in the air. The mountains in their areas are disappearing: in their community there is only one mountain left. The youth also shared about their emotional struggle. They have been abused and have recieved death threats – because they want to make a difference. One of the girls shared that she was told that she was going to be killed if she went against coal mining again. They are only 15 and 18 years old.
The next story that caught my attention was from a 14 year old from Bangladesh who now lives in New York. He said that there was a huge river behind his house. Everyday he saw the river being filled with concrete. Eventually a city grew on the banks of the river. He said that once the city was finished, it sunk right back into the river. When it sunk it had killed many people, and now there is nothing left but dirty land.
Now I’m going to share our story. Because of the changes in climate from human wrong-doings, the Louisiana coast loses 1 acre of land every hour. That’s 24 acres of land lost each day. (This is about the size of 24 football fields.) In our eyes levees are a good thing, but that’s for protection against flooding. Levees also stop sediment from coming in to build new land. Sediment is moved from the Mississippi River out into the Gulf. New Orleans is a ‘bowl community’ meaning water will collect in the city if the levees break and we flood again. It is possible New Orleans would not recover. Solutions to these problems can be elevating homes, using solar energy, installing green roofs and etc. Doing these things will not only reduce carbon emissions but will also create better living.”

Announcing our Adult Farm Internship Program

 Sustainable Agriculture Adult Internship Program

An opportunity for adults interested in advancing their knowledge and skills in sustainable urban agriculture through hands-on experience, instruction and support from mentor farmers.

Who We Are: The Grow Dat Youth Farm’s mission is to nurture a diverse group of young leaders through the meaningful work of growing food.  Young people are hired to grow food for their community and participate in a 19-week leadership development program from January to June. By using organic growing methods, we grow vegetables, herbs, fruit and mushrooms from October to July and cover crop during the hottest months.

About the Internship:

Grow Dat is interested in hosting 4-6 interns per year. Applicants may choose either a 6-month internship period (January – June) or a 10-month internship period (September-June).

Work with our farm team on our beautiful 4-acre site in City Park to help reach our production goals. Over the course of the internship, interns will advance their knowledge and experience in:

  • Garden/Farm planning
  • Weed recognition and abatement
  • Soil building & mulching
  • Compost creation and maintenance
  • Cover crop selection, methods and rotation
  • Irrigation design and installation
  • Greenhouse & seedling propagation
  • Planting & transplanting
  • Succession planting
  • Harvest techniques, post harvest handling, marketing
  • Record keeping
  • Tool use and maintenance
  • Leading volunteer groups on farm tasks
  • Receiving regular constructive feedback from Farm Manager and Farm Assistant


  • Must be able to lift 50 lbs.
  • Must be able to work outdoors in all weather conditions and perform a diversity of farm tasks
  • Must be able to accept constructive criticism
  • Must have positive attitude and be able to work as part of a team
  • Work hours: 12 hours per week, schedule flexible based on schedule

Compensation and Benefits:
The internship is un-paid but includes benefits of weekly donated farm produce, strong mentorship from the Farm Manager and Farm Assistant, and an opportunity to work with a diverse team of youth and adults committed to building more sustainable and food-secure New Orleans. School credit can also be coordinated.

* If interested in applying or have additional questions, please contact Farm Manager, Leo Gorman: leo@growdatyouthfarm.org, 504.616.1777

Cultivate: Stories from the New American Farmer

Last spring filmmaker Chandra Simon of Cultivate Films visited Grow Dat while touring small farms throughout the Gulf region.

Simon produced a beautiful short film about our young urban farmers, featuring Crew Members Yasmin Davis, Tim Dubuclet, Martin Raymond and Co-Director Johanna Gilligan. Enjoy!

Farm Pix: Happy New Year from our team

Team Grow Dat

Happy 2013 from our team. Photo by Dylan Hollingsworth

Jeanne, Jabari, Johanna, Leo and Karnesha wish you all the best for much growth in 2013!

As we reflect on the accomplishments and struggles of 2012, we are grateful for an overwhelming sense of success. Our farm continues to thrive, as do the youth we serve. We’re grown so much as we now approach our THIRD year! Every year we take thoughtful, planned steps to hire more youth, grow more sustainable produce, and share more food with New Orleanians in need.

Thank you to everyone for your continued generosity in our year end giving campaign (it’s not too late!) – we are thrilled to be wildly surpassing our fundraising goals.

“A proper community is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, an economy. It answers the needs, practical as well as social and spiritual, of its members – among them the need to need one another.” -Wendell Berry

Happy New Year!