Apr 9, 2024 - News

Grow Dat and City Park in talks

Photo shows people gardening in a field at Grow Dat Youth Farm.

Grow Dat's farm is in City Park off Zachary Taylor Drive. Photo: Courtesy of Grow Dat Youth Farm

A disagreement continues to churn between City Park and Grow Dat supporters after discovering the youth farm was erased on the park's new master plan.

Why it matters: The plan isn't final, but it represents a significant vision divide on how New Orleanians see the future of the city's largest park.

Catch up quick: The nonprofit that manages City Park has been working on a new master plan to redesign how the 1,300-acre park is used.

Zoom in: Grow Dat is an urban farming nonprofit that works primarily with young New Orleanians of color to teach them about growing food and developing their interpersonal skills.

Friction point: Grow Dat's lease will expire in 2027, and City Park does not plan to renew it, according to emails obtained by Verite.

  • City Park officials also claim Grow Dat owes back rent of more than $250,000, Verite reports.

Yes, but: Grow Dat tells Axios that City Park Conservancy never formally notified them about overdue rent.

  • "However, Grow Dat takes our financial obligations seriously," Grow Dat leadership told Axios yesterday, adding that they are "very willing" to discuss the estimate with park leaders.

Inside the room: Both groups confirm to Axios they are talking and hoping for a long-term resolution.

  • City Park Conservancy described the meetings as "productive" and "constructive."

Context: The current farm location has deep utilitarian, financial and emotional ties to the program, Grow Dat leaders say.

What's next: The next public meeting is planned for May.

Go deeper for what City Council vice president JP Morrell says

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