UNO Documentary: Grow Dat Youth Farm

What: Grow Dat Youth Farm

A film by: Documentarian Jen Giffin

Editor’s Note: NolaVie partners with students at UNO professor László Zsolt Fülöp, pairing them with artists, non-profits, environmental groups, and cultural entities to facilitate a live curriculum that results in a short documentary. In this video, Jen Giffin discusses Grow Dat Youth Farm, located in City Park in New Orleans, and its goal to help younger generations learn how to grow their own, healthy food. Grow Dat Youth Farm emphasizes the benefits of sustainable food systems and encourages future generations to move towards this healthier lifestyle. Giffin demonstrates how easy and beneficial this transition would be for local communities and colleges.

[Read the full transcript of the video below]

In today’s world, there is an overwhelming amount of bad ingredients in the food humans consume on a daily basis, such as sodium nitrate, corn syrup, synthetic color additives, and sodium phosphate. Some of these ingredients have even been found to cause serious health problems in their consumers. The city of New Orleans is known for its diverse food selection; fortunately, there are several organizations throughout New Orleans that aim to encourage citizens to consume a healthier diet.

Grow Dat Youth Farm located in city park New Orleans is a prime example of this goal.

Grow Dat aims to present the youth of New Orleans with better knowledge on how to grow their own foods in order to help the environment and their own financial stability. Every year Grow Dat manages to produce a total of thirty-two thousand pounds of produce. Seventy percent of this is sold at farmers’ markets, while the remaining is donated through a shared harvest program to low-income families who are in need of fresh food.

The seven-acre farm was donated by the community at the Tulane City Center. There are two greenhouses that aid in protecting certain plants from colder months as well as many rows of edible plants on the land. The workers at Grow Dat start out each day with icebreakers to promote bonding with one another, then they split up into smaller groups to begin planting new seeds and caring for the existing plants on the property. Grow Dat’s main goal is to create a more sustainable food system. They strive to teach about the many benefits that come with being able to grow one’s own food. This includes better financial stability, environment, and health. Grow Dat also promotes the value of teamwork as everyone on the farm works hard to keep everything running smoothly each day.

So many people in the world today are deprived of a well-balanced diet. This is because fresh foods are often overpriced since they are fresh. However, if everyone was educated on how to manage their own gardens, they would save a good amount of money on the food since seeds are far less expensive than buying the foods from the store. This is the type of feature that Grow Dat and organizations similar to it are working towards.

The University of New Orleans has a gardener’s club with strikingly similar goals as Grow Dat Youth Farm. There is a fenced-off garden on campus containing three greenhouses as well as outdoor planting areas. Students of all ages work together to grow and take care of the plants in the garden. The students are then able to eat the produce, which provides a wider variety of healthy foods accessible on campus. The greenhouses are filled with many different species of plants as well as gardening tools that are accessible to the members of the club. Having this club on campus is also beneficial to the student’s mental health as it can help those who are passionate about plants take a break from the stresses that come along with being in college clubs and organizations. The UNO Gardeners Club and Grow Dat are aiding and bringing the city of New Orleans to a healthier way of living. In recent years there has been an increase in healthy restaurants and stores throughout New Orleans. If more gardening organizations are started throughout New Orleans and surrounding areas, the city will be headed to a much brighter future.


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