OUR SCHOOL at Blair Grocery is an urban farm and food justice academy in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana. We operate a fully functioning farm in the heart of our neighborhood and employ youth in our community to help us grow food for our community. We're working to transform the narrative of the Lower 9th Ward from one of desolation to one of revitalization and empowerment.
OUR STORY began in 2008 with a displaced NYC public school teacher, an abandoned grocery store, some Lower 9th Ward youth, and a vision. What was once an after school nutrition and entrepreneurship program has grown with the help of tens of thousands of service learners and young volunteers from 48 states and 15 countries into a food-based economic and educational institution.
"From GED prep work to 3 strawberry plants to 5 rows of leafy greens to feeding 3,000 people."
We now house 20 goats, 20 chickens, and chemical free fields cultivating arugula, radishes, gourmet mushrooms, microgreens, and more, and employ 50 local youth each summer who plant, harvest, till, and learn a variety of soft skills focused on developing agency, self-determinism, and self-worth. Our seasonal produce is largely sourced to our neighbors, but we also have long-term partnerships with local restaurants and wholesale distributors (Donald Link and Dryade's Public Market, to name a few) who help support our student stipends.
We understand the work we do and the work we've done is important, but we've recently realigned our strategic mission to enhance our vision, and do even more in our community. Please reference our "projects" page to discover our goals, process, and understanding of how to end food deserts.