Updated: Nov 2, 2020
More residents in Baton Rouge will soon have better access to healthy food thanks to a community partnership with the East Baton Rouge Public Housing Authority that will add raised garden beds to 6 location beginning with a pilot in the Ardenwood Village neighborhood, an area being revitalized as part of BR Choice.
In the coming weeks, the farm team will prepare, build, and sow seeds for garden beds at 6 public housing sites. Each site will have anywhere from four to twelve 4” by 10” raised garden beds.
Baton Roots will build and prep the beds with soil and seedlings, and maintain each Harmony Garden site for six months along with residents and staff. Partners Southeast provided land and water access, as well as land preparation for garden beds.
Mitchell Provensal, the Baton Roots program coordinator, said the new beds will eliminate the transportation barrier that often keeps residents from accessing healthy food from major grocery stores.
“The goal of Baton Roots is to connect people to fresh and healthy food. Having the garden beds at these housing sites is a great way to [provide healthy food] where they’re at, in a safe and comforting environment,” Provensal said.
While the Baton Roots consistently hosts gardening and nutritional health workshops at its Howell Park location, transportation is still a barrier for residents. Bringing the Harmony Gardens farming experience to as many residents as possible is a shared goal between the two partners.
But the effort won’t stop once the new garden beds are finished. For the next 6 months after the installation, Baton Roots will host a series of community events to encourage residents to work alongside them, learning how to care for and maintain their new community garden.
Starting the planting in the winter, plenty of greens--like collard green, mustard greens, and lettuce-- will grow in these beds since they’re plants that commonly withstand the cold. As the seasons progress, new crops will be rotated for residents to enjoy.
In Phase 1 of the Project, the first six sites will be located at Ardenwood, North St., North 17th St., Alvin Dark, East Mason, and Rosenwald. Baton Roots will install the beds at these sites by the end of fall. Phase 2 of the project involves installing garden beds at six additional sites in the spring of 2021.