The Lower 9th Ward has a rich cultural tradition of growing food. We work to encourage and support that tradition, and use it as a community-building tool. We want to bring people together in the gardens to grow, literally and figuratively.
Lower 9 Growing Strong
Lower 9 Growing Strong builds upon the community’s already-established culture of growing and preparing food to engage Lower Ninth Ward children and families in activities which promote health, close-knit community and self-reliance.
The project entails six days per week of afternoon programming at the Guerrilla Garden, one of BGN’s community gardens. Using the new shade structure and outdoor kitchen at the Guerrilla Garden to stage workshops/activities and BGN’s Ernst Garden Resource Center for material support, Lower 9 Growing Strong will feature hands-on gardening workshops, art activities, storytelling, food preparation demos, African-centered history, and community food celebrations.
Lower 9 Growing Strong is supported by W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The Adopt-A-Plot program offers an opportunity for residents who want to grow in community with others. Garden plots are available for planting at the two BGN gardens – Ernst Garden and the Guerrilla Garden. Lower 9th Ward residents have priority (¾ of plots are set aside for Lower 9th Ward residents). All BGN gardeners get free access to water and basic tools, access to the Tool Lending Library, and free seeds and starter plants courtesy of New Orleans Food and Farm Network and Parkway Partners. Also, gardening at the community gardens allows residents to share advice and stories with one another. Gardeners meet regularly to make decisions about the garden and plan events.
Tool Lending Library
The Tool Lending Library program offers low-cost garden tool rental for Lower 9th Ward residents. In stock, we have a tiller, a weed wacker, pointed and flat shovels, leaf rakes, hard rakes, pick axes, and many hand tools.
Thanks to New Orleans Food and Farm Network and The Home Depot Foundation for your generous donations!
Mostly at the Guerrilla Garden, we host a variety of special events to bring our community together in the gardens. In partnership with New Orleans Citizens Diplomacy Council, we have hosted delegations of visitors from around the world for cultural exchanges with our community. We also have an annual Tastes of the Lower 9th Ward Community Potluck, where residents bring a dish that includes ingredients grown in the neighborhood. Our annual Watermelon Party is a fun time to crack open fresh picked watermelons straight from the garden! Events like these are opportunities for our community to come together, share food and stories, and feel more connected to the land and one another.
Community Garden Space Use
The gardens are available for individuals or organizations to use as well. With an outdoor kitchen space, a shade structure, picnic tables and benches, the Guerrilla Garden is a great place to host a church or family function. We see these gardens as lively community centers and welcome community organizations and residents to use them!