On July 23rd, New Orleans Food and Farm Network launched Farm This Now!, an initiative that seeks to connect New Orleans residents who want to grow food, with vacant land in the city where they can garden or farm. The organization is helping to connect potential farmers to future farm sites by improving the accessibility of information about vacant land in New Orleans, and providing information about how individuals or organizations can lease or purchase this land.
One of New Orleans’ biggest problems today is revitalizing the thousands of blighted and abandoned properties throughout the city. These overgrown and dark at night areas contribute to aesthetic and safety concerns. Farm This Now! represents a constructive and pro-active opportunity to revive these lots and increase availability of healthy, fresh food. This project will create attractive and productive green spaces, reduce maintenance costs of the properties borne by the City, and help to create jobs that will stay in the community.
To more easily link aspiring local gardeners and farmers with land where they can grow food, NOFFN created two resources:
- A user-friendly Map that displays vacant land in the city, and
- A Handbook that explains the various avenues for purchasing or leasing this land, and the forms of support NOFFN can offer to individuals and community organizations at different steps in the process of creating a new garden or farm, and how they can become involved in NOFFN’s Farm Incubation Initiative.
The Recirculating Farms Coalition is especially excited about this new program, as it will also help expand the ever-increasing movement to build new recirculating farms on urban lots, especially where the soil is paved or too contaminated to grow food through traditional soil-farming methods. New Orleans has embraced recirculating farming – with hydroponic and aquaponic gardens literally sprouting on rooftops, side lots and backyards.
Read more about the launch of Farm This Now! here.