Our gardens provided places to GROW.
13 gardeners (11 Lower 9th Ward residents, 1 Upper Ninth Ward homeschool group and 1 student group from Xavier University) cultivated plots at our gardens this year, and an additional 10 residents regularly participated in maintenance and planning. The Lower 9th Ward is GROWING together. We held 6 monthly meetings of the garden members for planning. It is vital for our community to be involved in the design, planning and implementation of the garden spaces.
Sharing the HARVEST.
In July, we held our 2nd Annual Garden Watermelon Party, where our gardeners cracked open watermelon picked fresh from the Guerrilla Garden. We are building community at the gardens, bringing our people together around food. We ate watermelons right out of the garden!
BEYOND the gardens.
We organized a community walking program called the Garden Walk in March 2012! It started as a weekly walk, but participants desired a more frequent (and informal) walk, so they began gathering independently each weekday morning to walk. We consider this a success because they are walking (and wearing our t-shirts!) This equals better health, safer streets, and closer-knit community!
Community Art Mural Project with Xavier University.
This year, we partnered with Xavier University Art Department to create a beautiful mural for the Guerrilla Garden. The mural creation process was community-centered. The students and residents of the Lower 9th Ward engaged in a series of Story Circles, where they shared personal stories of growing up. Then the Xavier students used the stories to design the mural. Residents and students came back together to paint and hang the mural.
Sharing KNOWLEDGE at the garden.
In January, we hosted a New Orleans Food and Farm Network Grow Mo’ Betta workshop, Planning Your Spring Garden, led by long-time Lower 9th Ward resident and organic gardener Calvin Alexander (Cal’s Crops).
International cultural exchange at the Guerrilla Garden.
In partnership with New Orleans Citizens Diplomacy Council,we welcomed visitors from several Latin American countries and Mozambique to community receptions for cultural exchange with our residents (about 15 residents participated in 2012). BGN was honored this year as an Outstanding Citizen Diplomat by the New Orleans Citizens Diplomacy Council. Our gardens have become a connection to the rest of the world. We are creating opportunities for the Lower 9th Ward community to connect with other African communities worldwide.
We distributed 80 FRUIT TREES, helping to rebuild the FOOD landscape of the Lower 9th Ward.
In partnership with New Orleans Food and Farm Network, we gave away 80 fruit trees to Lower 9th Ward residents. Many residents remember a time when nearly everyone had backyard gardens and fruit trees; many of these stories came out during the Fruit Tree Giveaway. Giving away these fruit trees to residents increases their access to fresh foods, and helps to re-ignite the culture of food-growing in the Lower 9th Ward.