In recent years, the efficacy of each New Orleans’ education and food systems has attracted national and local attention, revealing tremendous needs for change in both spheres. Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG) is rethinking and attempting to improve both systems at once.
In 2008, OSBG founder Nat Turner moved to New Orleans from New York. “Honestly, I was broke and I was hungry,” says Turner of his financial situation at the time. “What I figured out quickly was that there were skills that went in to food systems work and that it really covers all aspects of learning.”
As a result, Turner created OSBG to bring education and sustainable food work together.
The organization is a New Orleans-based, independent, alternative school and sustainability education center located in the Lower Ninth Ward. It operates each a high school, as well as an after-school education program, offering teens an experiential curriculum and GED-prep focused on sustainability, ending local hunger and building a profitable community food enterprises and economies in the L9.
Although OSBG’s immediate focus is to mitigate hunger and improve agricultural and educational sustainability in New Orleans communities, Turner explains how the reach of the organization’s strategies have a far broader effect. “All across the globe, we face similar challenges, and so what we need to try to do, I think, is to work together and collaborate and innovate and think about how we can come up with local solutions for global challenges,” Turner says. “You can do it [work towards resolving these global challenges] somewhere else, but you can also do it close to home.”
Paloma Goza, a student in the Department of Film and Theatre at the University of New Orleans, interviews Turner about the program.