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In Bloom with Baton Roots

Meet some of the women behind Baton Roots and find out what’s growing at the farm.


Temperatures are rising and plants are thriving at the Baton Roots Community Farm.


As the program continues to expand, new team members, volunteers, and spring crops are making Baton Roots a brighter place. This season, the farm team planted foods like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, beans, squash, okra, and basil. They also planted flowers like zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, and cosmos. Once the fruits and vegetables are harvested beginning in May, Baton Roots plans to sell them to partners like Top Box Louisiana and at local pop-up markets. They also plan to distribute produce to food pantries like HOPE Ministries, volunteers, and local communities.


In celebration of National Garden Month, Walls Project spoke with three of Baton Roots’ team members to learn more about what they do and why urban farms are important. We photographed them surrounded by eye-catching flower arrangements and artistic floral displays at the first Flower Fest at Pointe Marie in Baton Rouge. It was a florist’s dream come true. Read what the Baton Roots team shared below and sign up to volunteer at batonrootsvolunteer.paperform.co.


 

Shivonne Marshall, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator


What is your favorite part about Baton Roots?

I love being able to work with the students in (Hustle and Grow), learning how to properly grow plants, and seeing all the happy faces of people when they receive produce.


What do you wish more people knew about Baton Roots?

I wish people knew how easy it was to connect with us.


Why are urban farms important to have? Especially in Baton Rouge?

Urban farms are important because they are great resources for fresh produce. They are especially important in Baton Rouge because of the limited access to healthy food options. Residents can utilize Baton Roots to connect to nature, friendly people, and fresh food.

Aeryn Ardoin, Lead Farmhand


Tell me about your role at Baton Roots…

I wear many hats and enjoy them all! As a Lead Farmhand, I work under my director, Mitchell Provensal, and guide our farmhands in carrying out daily activities, largely at one of our main farm sites, Capitol High School. I also teach Hustle and Grow classes, which gives me the opportunity to teach EBR high school students the skills necessary to grow their own food. I currently monitor all of the mobile sites built through our partnership with the East Baton Rouge Parish Housing Authority. When possible, I assist when we sell our produce at local markets, such as Scotlandville Saturdays and I perform a myriad of other functions whenever possible.


What is your favorite part about Baton Roots?

My favorite part of Baton Roots is the opportunity to positively impact the city that raised me. Baton Rouge is on the rise and being able to enrich the lives of people around me and contribute to the betterment of our future as a whole is both a grave responsibility and rewarding labor of love that I greatly cherish. Our supportive upline, our hardworking staff, and our receptive community are some reasons why I greatly enjoy my position with Baton Roots!


What do you wish more people knew about Baton Roots?

There are several ways that they can get involved! We offer regular workshops where community members can come learn how to start and improve their own home growing operations. Volunteers are always welcome and encouraged to sign up to assist at Howell Park, Capitol High, or any of our Housing Authority sites. Our gardens are open to anyone looking to come out and harvest our offerings for themselves. Donate to the organization; patronize our events; like, follow and share our social media outlets and correspondences. Blow your horn when you pass us working in the field. Every act of support is greatly supported and appreciated!


Why are urban farms important to have? Especially in Baton Rouge?

Urban farms are important to fill the increasing void that grocery stores will be more and more unable to supply.

Global warming, a growing population, constant recalls, and questionable mass-produced food quality are just some of the many reasons why urban farms are so important. They offer the opportunity to try varieties that grocery stores can't or won't supply because they may not travel or store as well as those which are most commonly available.

One reason why urban farming is especially important in Baton Rouge is to supply food deserts, low-income communities with scarce availability to healthy produce, with fresh and local fruit and vegetables. Urban farming decreases our carbon footprint and leads us to a more self-sustainable existence where eating locally can meet our citizens' agricultural needs while closing the income gap and still showing a financial profit!

Roshanna Lee, Volunteer


What is your favorite part about Baton Roots?

My favorite part about Baton Roots is how knowledgeable and passionate they are about the development of the farms.


What do you wish more people knew about Baton Roots?

I wish more people knew how embracing Baton Roots staff is when answering various questions in regards to making your garden grow step-by-step.


Why are urban farms important to have? Especially in Baton Rouge?

In communities where health issues are on the rise, fresh produce being available [at urban farms] will promote a meaningful and healthier lifestyle, especially in Baton Rouge.





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