Down the block, around the corner, and from river to bayou, community gardens remain a staple of Life in the Nine. The rich soils, abundant rain and sunshine produce plenty of perfect growing conditions for all kinds of fruits and vegetables. So it’s no wonder that community gardens have long been essential here – for easy access to fresh, healthy food while serving as gathering spaces for residents of all ages. Magic happens here year round.
The Guerilla Garden (at Chartres and Charbonnet) is a project conceived, developed and implemented by the Backyard Gardener's Network and Lower Ninth Ward residents committed to community revitalization. Since April 2009, neighbors have worked together clearing this lot, planning the space, securing resources and even planting a few beds of okra in the meantime. Once an overgrown dumping ground, this space is now clear, maintained and ready to be developed.
The Guerrilla Garden is about community building and community ownership, eliminating blight and providing food access. It will feature a small tree grove, a shade structure with a rainwater catchment system, in-ground vegetable patches as well as raised garden beds, and ample seating. It will be a place for folks of all ages to get together and learn from each other.
Laurentine Ernst Community Garden (at Chartres and Forstall) another Backyard Gardener's Network project, was founded more than 20 years ago by Parkway Partners on behalf of Holy Cross Neighborhood residents. This small but productive space offers multiple gardening plots for residents. Today, the garden features an adjacent Garden House donated by the Preservation Resource Center (PRC) of New Orleans – a restored two-room deep single shotgun house which will serve as a garden shed and classroom for gardeners across the Lower 9.