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Non-profit Spotlight: Sprout NOLA

Sprout NOLA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization in New Orleans. Their mission is to “work towards a better food system by making farming accessible to everyone—that means anyone who wants to farm as a hobby, career, or anywhere in between.” Their initiatives involve supporting their community in several different ways: farmer training, technical assistance and coalitions, community gardening and food sovereignty, and advocating for equitable policy change. Sprout NOLA frequently hosts events and classes to fund and support their mission and goals surrounding farming, gardening, and community-building in and around the New Orleans area. 

Sprout NOLA has taught over 150 community classes since 2011 and has produced over 10,000 pounds of community food, making it a staple in the New Orleans community. 

Programs

Sprout NOLA offers several programs for new and experienced farmers and those wishing to immerse themselves in their community through farming and gardening. Their programs range from farmer training and technical assistance to community-building to advocacy and policy efforts.

Farmer Training and Technical Assistance

Technical Assistance for Beginning Farmers and Gardeners 

Sprout NOLA offers farmer training and technical assistance programs for both new and experienced farmers and gardeners. GROW LOUISIANA, and GROWING LOCAL LOUISIANA are farmer and rancher development programs ideal for Louisiana-based beginning farmers and those interested in developing their farming skills for business purposes. 

You can fill out the programming survey here. Check for updates periodically by visiting the Programs page of the Sprout NOLA website. 

Greater New Orleans Grower Alliance (GNOGA)

 Sprout NOLA was integral in founding the Greater New Orleans Grower Alliance (GNOGA),

which is a space for farmers to network and share resources with each other. GNOGA aims to “build power for those professionalizing urban horticulture,” but you do not need to be a working farmer or horticulture professional to participate. Sprout NOLA is now the proud fiscal sponsor of GNOGA.

You can join GNOGA here.

Community Programs

Sprout NOLA offers a variety of programs for those wishing to engage with their community through farming and gardening. They focus on their urban programming around The ReFresh Project, a community health hub located in Lower Mid-City New Orleans. 

Children’s Classes and Kids Camp

Sprout NOLA provides free children’s classes with the Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine throughout the year. These classes equip children with knowledge about farming and food. These classes are made possible through the contributions of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans

ReFresh Farmer’s Market

The ReFresh Farmer’s Market has a plethora of local New Orleans-based vendors. Sprout NOLA states that the market “builds a community of vendors who rewrite the paradigm of how food dollars get allocated and how small food businesses can support themselves.”

The ReFresh Farmer’s Market is open on Monday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 2606 St. Louis Street. Check out Sprout NOLA’s Instagram if you are interested in the farmer’s market or have any questions. 

ReFresh Community Farm

The ReFresh Community Farm is a Sprout NOLA project made possible by over thirty local gardeners who diligently organize community classes, monthly potlucks, and other community gardening or farming projects. Check out the community’s mission, vision, and values here!

Truck Farm Table and Local Food Aggregation 

Sprout NOLA works to “rebuild and repair the local food system” through their Truck Farm Table at the market, where they gather local food, flowers, and plants to give to vendors free of charge. 

Additionally, Sprout NOLA, in partnership with Recirculating Farms and Top Box Foods, aims to rebuild the food system by providing farmers with the means to profit from their goods. Sprout NOLA, Recirculating Farms, and Top Box Foods increase farmer support by selling leftover produce from their market to create local produce boxes available to the community. 

Broad Corridor Community Garden Network 

Sprout NOLA partners with local gardeners to form the Broad Corridor Community Garden Network (BCCGN), bringing together non-profit organizations, community gardens, and school gardens. This organization works to “obtain, circulate and aggregate resources cooperatively, access technical and logistic help for and from other gardeners, and build a collective of gardeners that can advocate for themselves and other gardeners throughout New Orleans, especially the Broad corridor.”

You can learn more about the BCCGN here

Advocacy and Policy 

Sprout NOLA focuses on both local and national agricultural advocacy and policy. The organization is on the steering committee of the Food Policy and Advisory Committee (FPAC), which is New Orleans’ advisory committee responsible for pushing toward sustainable reform in local agriculture laws. 

Sprout NOLA also partnered with the National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC), encouraging young farmers to advocate for national agricultural policies and sustainable farming. It serves as a way for New Orleans-based farmers to voice their needs and participate in national conversations surrounding agricultural policy and sustainability.

Spring Events and Classes

Plant Sale & Night Market 

April 10, 2022

4pm – 7pm 

800 Homer Plessy Way

On April 10th, Sprout NOLA hosted its “Long Days Plant Sale: Spring Plants for Warmer Days” event. Attendees enjoyed delicious wine from Wine Crush and Vietnamese food by Vy as they shopped for spring plants and flowers and supported eight local nurseries. 

Veggie Drag Bingo

April 13, 2022

6pm – 8pm

800 Homer Plessy Way

Sprout NOLA and Make-Up Improv + Drag will host an all-ages drag show and bingo game to support neighborhood gardens on April 13.  This event benefits Jeanette Bell’s “Garden on Mars” gardens in Central City, Gert Town, and the Lower 9th Ward. Bingo boards cost $8. Register for Drag Bingo here.

Growing Luffa

April 24, 2022

10 am

800 Homer Plessy Way 

On April 24th, Sprout NOLA and VEGGI host “Growing Luffa,” an event created to encourage discussions surrounding the growing, planting, and harvesting of luffa for sponges and food.

Volunteer and Donate 

Are you interested in bettering the New Orleans community through farming and gardening? You can volunteer and community garden with the ReFresh Community Farm by filling out the application

If you would like to make a donation to Sprout NOLA and support their mission to work toward a better, more sustainable food system, visit their donation page!

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