Our Spring Garden

Hooray! This week, the weather finally warmed up, and we moved our newly sprouted baby plants into their raised garden beds at our Growing Local NOLA community food and farm center in New Orleans, Louisiana! We’ll be using our new beds to teach gardening and farming classes.

We decided to plant various herbs – rosemary, curly leaf parsley, Thai basil and Italian basil, along with some fun veggies – patty pan squash, eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, and blue lake bush beans and marigolds to help with unwanted pests.

Come visit our garden and watch us grow!

Growing at Growing Local

 

WOW! What an amazing Saturday we had. It was a mostly sunny, slightly cloudy, warm and breezy day in New Orleans, just perfect for us to host our very first event at our new Growing Local NOLA food and farm center site!

We held a “planting your spring garden” workshop. It was focused on peppers, tomatoes, starting seeds and transplanting – and an added bonus discussion on raising chickens for eggs – complete with cute, fluffy baby chicks (awwww). We had over 30 participants for our 2-hour class.

In preparation for the workshop, we finished construction of our raised garden beds and set them up with layers of composted wood chips for drainage and good soil for growing – yes we here at Recirculating Farms work with traditional soil-based growing too! Of course we did a recirculating hydroponics demonstration as well, to provide alternate growing options for small spaces, or rocky or paved areas, (or those just interested in soil-less farming).We’ll be hosting programs regularly going forward – join our mailing list to get events announcements and sign up for our various classes – or better yet, become a member and support all our cool programs and projects!

Many thanks to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation for the funding and support through their Challenge Grant to make these programs possible (and free).

 

Growing Local Site Cleanup!

 

Wow – today was amazing! We had 28 people come out on a beautiful Saturday morning in New Orleans, Louisiana to help us clean up the future site of our food and farm center, Growing Local NOLA. Working with New Orleans Food and Farm Network and NOLA Trash mob – we collected 14 bags of trash, 8 bags of recycling, 11 tires and a wide array of very unique objects – pulled from dirt piles and around the lot.

Our contest for most interesting item was won with an almost entirely intact clarinet – each of the 3 pieces  were found separately!

Runners up included a “treasure box”, a whisk, 2 matching boots, remnants of an electric beater, a carpet, a pedicure set, and a 1979 Zulu doubloon (for those of you unfamiliar with Mardi Gras terminology – this is a colorful wooden or metal coin each “Krewe” makes to commemorate their annual participation in Carnival).

Winner of the largest piece of trash went to Jordan Bantuelle of the Urban Farmstead – he found a giant (and we mean GIANT) realtor sign. Debra Surtain, master gardener, also won a prize for helping to recruit the most people for the event.

We had an abundance of healthy snacks to fuel our cleanup team – fresh fruits, granola bars and yogurt, along with plenty of beverages to keep everyone hydrated – all natural orange and apple juices and LOTS of cold water.

Many thanks to everyone who participated – we are so grateful for your support!

 

We need YOU!

In recent months, there have been so many happenings in food policy – from genetically modified foods studies to questionable permits issued for ocean aquaculture in Hawaii. As each new occurrence was announced, we thought – more people need to know about what’s happening with our food system and speak out for affordable healthy food produced in a sustainable way. So this December, Recirculating Farms Coalition is asking for more people to get involved in the good food movement! All of you supporters who are committed to fresh, local food, please join our Coalition – and ask your family and friends to join us too!

From December 4th through the end of the year, we’re launching the “Member in December” drive: and we’re asking you to help us spread the word about the Recirculating Farms Coalition. Whoever recruits the most new members (at least 10!) will win a fantastic pack of prizes and a special profile on our blog. Click here for membership sign-up.

Be sure to tell all your friends and family to let us know who connected them to us when they sign up. Tell them to write the name of the person who invited them to become a member on the membership form, in the box that says “tell us about your farm if you have one.”

And if you are already a member and want to further support the Coalition, please consider making an end-of-the-year donation so we can keep on doing important things to support recirculating farming!

THANK YOU for all you do!

Groundbreaking: Growing Local NOLA, Urban Food & Farming Center

An excited crowd gathered on an empty lot in Central City New Orleans this morning as the Recirculating Farms Coalition and the New Orleans Food and Farm Network officially broke ground on a unique community farm and food center – “Growing Local NOLA”.

Neighbors stopped by to talk about their hopes for the new facility, city and state officials gave congratulations and well wishes and partners and supporters joined in celebration.

The core of the Center will be a working farm that showcases cutting-edge yet affordable, water, space and energy efficient growing techniques, like recirculating hydroponics and aquaponics. These systems use constantly recycled nutrient-rich water in place of soil to grow plants (including fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs) and aquaponics raise fish too (learn more here).

Products will be offered to local distributors and restaurants, and directly to consumers through a nearby green market, and special events like a farmers’ market.

There will be a wide range of programs at the Center like personal gardening, commercial farming, and farm-to-table cooking classes, fitness workshops, youth and senior events, lectures, and community discussions related to food, health and more. The Center will also host a community garden, with raised soil beds and fruit trees

Working with other existing programs, Growing Local NOLA plans to help tackle the city’s label as a food desert and the state’s high obesity rate – the second worst in the country by providing healthy fresh affordable food and training in urban farming.

The organizations recently received major grants for the project from, among others, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation and the Claneil Foundation. Christy Oliver Reeves, Director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana attended the event in person.

Read more about the groundbreaking here – see what city and state officials and others said about Growing Local NOLA!

  

  Sanjay Kharod, Christy Oliver Reeves, Marianne Cufone
  and Ayame Nagatani Dinkler at groundbreaking