NOLA Green Roots has given the phrase "naturally New Orleans" a whole new meaning. On May 29, the organization, which converts abandoned plots of land into thriving community gardens, opened its second location: Wise Words Community Garden. Area residents can pay a monthly membership fee of $20 and receive weekly shipments of the garden's produce straight to their homes. In return, they are expected to perform gardening duties once a week. Stakeholders can pay $30 a month for produce privileges without the required labor.
Designed for both food and art, the garden features weekly cooking demonstrations using fresh ingredients, displays local artwork and encourages hands-on involvement with local produce and agriculture.
Crops currently growing in the garden includes tomatoes, cucumbers, okra and fresh herbs such as dill, basil and parsley. Fresh eggs can be gathered from a chicken coop on the site. Members also can access local produce through the Nola Green Roots website (www.nolagreenroots.com), which lists prices and availability.
Nola Green Roots' first project was the Mid-City Community Garden at 516 S. Salcedo St. The gardens have received support from organizations including New Orleans Food and Farm Network, Hands-On New Orleans and AmeriCorps.
Joseph Brock, Nola Green Roots executive director, says the Gulf oil disaster has magnified the importance of utilizing local produce. "Even though the Gulf has taken a turn to rid us of our natural resources, we are trying to show people that not all of them are gone," he says. — Sarah Eddington