Tulane University and Grow Dat

Grow Dat is a social entrepreneurship initiative being developed by food education consultants at Clean Plate Projects, LLC, and incubated by multiple departments within Tulane University, primarily Tulane City Center. Beyond the incubation phase, Grow Dat will remain a partner with Tulane University, engaging students and faculty who provide programmatic and technical support.

Created to compliment existing K-8th grade food education programs in New Orleans, most notably the Edible Schoolyard, the concept for the Grow Dat Youth Farm grew out of the strong partnership between the Tulane City Center and the New Orleans Food and Farm Network.

Tulane City Center is a founding partner of Grow Dat, creating the vision and developing both physical and programmatic plans for the project. Grow Dat provides an exciting real-world learning context for Tulane faculty, students, and staff. In turn, there is broad interest and support throughout the University for Grow Dat and multiple departments provide technical assistance, such as:

School of Architecture/Tulane City Center

Students at the School of Architecture enroll in design build studios focused on overall site development and design and construction of buildings. Tulane City Center interns also provide extensive graphic design support to the organization.

Urban Innovator Challenge Fellowship

Johanna Gilligan, Co-Director of Grow Dat, is one of four Urban Innovator Challenge Fellows connected to the university through social innovation initiatives.  The fellowship has allowed Grow Dat to connect with appropriate personnel within multiple departments, identify funding sources and strategies, and attract interested students to the project.

Freeman School of Business/ Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship

Grow Dat utilizes Master of Business Administration students to develop a business plan and refine our business strategies. The process includes market research to explore viable options for income generation beyond produce sales.

Office of Community Affairs and Health Policy at the School of Medicine

Grow Dat staff work with OCAHP to create cooking and nutrition programming for families of youth who have completed the 19-week program.  Tulane will connect families with wrap-around healthcare services coordinated through the university’s multiple mobile and community clinics.  The goal is to determine if connecting families with social workers, registered dieticians and nurse practitioners impacts knowledge and behavior, and leads to healthier diets.

School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

The School of Public Health provides a practicum student who completes a 300-hour capstone project. The primary focus of the work will be refining and improving our evaluation tools to better understand our programmatic impact.

School of Social Work

Grow Dat hosts a social work intern who provides direct support to youth participants and their families.

Center for Public Service

As a community partner of the Center for Public Service, Grow Dat works with multiple TIDES courses to provide an opportunity for Tulane students to fulfill their required community service hours by volunteering on the farm.  The Center provides an AmeriCorps VISTA staff member and a summer intern.

Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives

The Institute provides guidance on the selection of partner schools for Grow Dat, both for the initial partner school and for future cohorts.

School of Liberal Arts

Grow Dat is partnered with faculty in the Department of Sociology to conduct research on the social implications of urban farming and youth leadership development.