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The Next Generation of Farmers: How Youth are Learning Urban Farming Methods

J. Mijin Cha

Hattie Carthan Community Garden nyc.govOne of the most unsustainable aspects of our culture is how we grow our food. The dominance of large factory farms and mass production has resulted in significant environmental tolls, including soil erosion, extensive use of pesticides, and damage to water systems. And, even with our large agriculture sector, 13.5 million people live in food deserts--areas without access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Instead of relying on big grocery stores or farms to deliver fresh foods, the stories below highlight local community programs that not only look to take control over their food systems but also engage youth to develop their skills and sense of ownership.

Our School at Blair Grocery, New Orleans

Sometimes it seems that there are two eras in New Orleans, the pre-Katrina New Orleans and the post-Katrina New Orleans. In the continual drive to help the city recover, Nat Turner opened Our School at Blair Grocery in the Lower Ninth Ward. The school uses an experiential curriculum that incorporates GED-prep work into the sustainability ideals, such as ending hunger and building a regional food economy that is profitable and community based. The school grows produce adapted to the taste of local residents and grows enough produce to sell to 10 local restaurants and the New Orleans Food Co-op. The garden has already expanded to neighboring empty lots.