Food Security remains a vital element of any sustainable community — and in fact is a return to the traditions of urban farming and independent living rooted in the Lower Ninth Ward. CSED works to promote this initiative by supporting community gardens, local markets and ongoing education and outreach about the importance of urban agriculture to community revitalization.
Access to fresh food, growing healthy lifestyles through urban agriculture in our neighborhoods. Once, the Lower Ninth Ward was filled with backyard gardens, outdoor markets and corner stores. Thanks to the area’s fertile soils and open spaces – from river to bayou– truck farms supplied much of the produce for French Quarter restaurants. Since Katrina, with the loss of population and family businesses, a network of food suppliers destroyed, the Lower 9 has gone from urban “Food Hub” to “Food Desert”, requiring residents to look far outside the community just to purchase fruits and vegetables, meat, seafood and nearly all their everyday food staples.
Yet a change is underway. Although no grocery stores have returned, Lower 9 residents are now growing beans, greens, fruit trees and more, raising poultry, canning, creating food buying clubs, joining co-ops – sharing ideas, taking charge. The Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development continues to support and partner on many of these efforts to improve food security so essential to community sustainability.
Today, CSED works to revitalize our food system – putting consumers in touch with local producers – through a comprehensive Food Action Plan that reflects widespread community input. In addition, we continue to support community gardens, local farmers’ markets, and the development of a new Lower 9 Urban Farm. The CSED has also developed The Gratitude Garden, which includes a a public citrus fruit park, meditative labyrinth, wetlands nursery, green infrastructure garden and much more.
Grow with us!