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Nestled on four acres in New Orleans’ beautiful City Park is Grow Dat Youth Farm, an urban farm that provides fresh food to inner-city New Orleans and job opportunities in for high school students. The Grow Dat Program is a social entrepreneurship that includes many local organizations, including the Tulane City Center and Clean Plate Projects.
The farm works with high schools and several youth organizations to recruit a diverse group who together can develop both leadership and everyday life skills. This is the belief of Pietermaritzburg vegetable farmer, 64-year-old Hlaleleni Louisa Buthelezi.
Buthelezi is one of thousands of farmers countrywide struggling to maintain her business due to natural and financial challenges. With KwaZulu-Natal in the grip of drought, Buthelezi said her hydroponic farming technique is in jeopardy. Buthelezi, who grew up in a farming community in the rural KwaZulu-Natal town of Bulwer, said her formative years made her a stickler for high-quality products.
Buthelezi runs a vegetable farm in Pietermaritzburg that employs more than 20 including young people whom she is mentoring.
The spunky entrepeneur said she now hopes to further her business and make inroads internationally. Story Content The Maryland State Highway Administration is helping grow food and jobs in rural Maryland.



MSHA this month announced that it had donated more than 5,000 linear feet of old road signs to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to build a complex of greenhouses, a native tree nursery, and a 5,000-gallon water storage unit in Frostburg.
Supporting Frostburg State University's Frostburg Grows Program, the donated material was used to build a 5-acre complex of greenhouses, including a shade house and a composting facility.
Additional project partners include Frostburg University, George's Creek Watershed Association, and the University Of Maryland College Of Agriculture And Natural Resources. Anaheim is teaming up with Renewable Farms to raise money for an aquaponics farm that would grow food for low-income families and create jobs in the city. Meanwhile, the city of Anaheim heard about Renewable Farms and wanted its own aquaponics farm. Working with students who have already taken gardening and cooking classes, Grow Dat Youth Farm creates a supportive, healthy and inspiring environment for New Orleans youth who still face daunting job prospects several years after the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.
The urban agriculture project is important logistically as a jobs training hub because it is in a central location easily accessible by public transportation. Additionally, SHA crews helped excavate the land where the greenhouses now stand on the Frostburg State University campus.
According to the MSHA, the facility will provide job training and will serve as a research center to optimize growing methods for food production and native plants for reforestation, permaculture, and traditional Appalachian cultural uses. Additionally, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and American Rivers awarded a $300,000 grant to the program in spring 2012.


And nobody knows what to do about it.” (Will sustainable farmers be forced to spray or have to rethink the idea of releasing millions of ladybugs to gobble the newly emerging noxious pests?) By the end of this gathering, my little grey cells were electrified with new ideas and my emotions were further stimulated by meeting old friends and making new ones. The water from the ponds gets recycled into planters, where bacteria from fish waste puts nutrients in the soil. The farm emphasizes community, environmental stewardship and leadership through a collaborative effort to grow fresh food. Grow Dat Farm’s surroundings also help teach lessons about the natural environment within an urban setting.
And in the wake of Katrina, the farm and its facilities, designed by Tulane University’s architecture department, have a critical role in providing fresh ingredients as the number of supermarkets within New Orleans’ city limits has declined since 2005 and are now primarily in the wealthier neighborhoods. In addition to working on the farm, the students also sell their harvest at local farmers’ markets and prepare food for homeless or underserved residents.
Grow Dat Youth Farm’s holistic approach, which emphasizes time management, people skills and of course, the cultivation of a food, together provides valuable training from which students in any city, anywhere, could benefit.




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