Grow Dat Youth Farm is notched into a corner of City Park between a football stadium and a tranquil lagoon. It also occupies a unique niche in the growing ranks of urban farms, using the cultivation of crops as a vehicle for personal development and leadership skills in local youth.
Next month, the nonprofit has a series of events intended to showcase its site and its mission to more people, and that includes a special dinner led by chefs from Donald Link’s restaurant group that takes the notion of farm-to-table to a different level.
On May 7, Grow Dat Youth Farm will host the first in a new seasonal series of farm dinners. The Link Stryjewski Foundation is providing the food and beverages, and the James Beard Award-winning chefs Stephen Stryjewski and Ryan Prewitt will oversee the meal. The three-course dinner will be paired with wines, and will draw heavily on Grow Dat’s own spring crops.
The event starts at 5 p.m. with a cocktail hour, a guided tour of the farm and then dinner at a table set under the oaks by a lagoon tracing the farm’s edge.
“Our site and program really lends itself to having these unique farm-to-table experiences,” said Jamie Broussard, operations manager for Grow Dat Youth Farm. “Our hope is that combining a dining experience with food we’re growing here will give people a point of contact with our farm and our mission, that’s our goal.”
Grow Dat was created in conjunction with Tulane University and its Tulane City Center. It has a seven-acre site in City Park, with farm plots and an environmentally-friendly “eco campus” of repurposed shipping containers housing its offices, classrooms, barn and kitchen.
Each year, the group convenes 50 high school students from nine schools around the city for a six-month youth development program tied to the fundamentals of farming and environmental stewardship. The farm’s harvest is sold at farmers market stands staffed by the students and also distributed to low-income residents through the group’s Shared Harvest program. This year, Grow Dat’s goal is the produce 20,000 pounds of food.
Other events on the May calendar here include an outdoor yoga series, held at the farm each Tuesday in May at 6:30 p.m. with Reyn Studios. On May 3, Grow Day will host a free tour at 5 p.m. in conjunction with GiveNOLA Day, the citywide fundraiser.
Tickets for the May 7 farm dinner are $95 and are limited. Get them through growdatyouthfarm.org.
Grow Dat Youth Farm
150 Zachary Taylor Dr., City Park
Follow Ian McNulty on Twitter @IanMcNultyNOLA.