Gardener Jeanette Bell at her Garden on Mars project in New Orleans, Louisiana, August 25, 2020. Photo Credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation/Najja Foluke

Society USA14. September 2020

From the Ruins of Katrina, New Orleans Turns Over a New Leaf, One Garden at a Time

From the ruins, hurricane Katrina left in New Orleans, Louisiana, the USA, fifteen years ago emerged the urban garden project “Garden on Mars” meant to teach people how to grow their own food.

“I thought, this is ridiculous. You’ve got all of this land that’s not being used,” says Jeanette Bell, 76, founder of the project. “Instead of waiting for the supermarket which is not going to come until you get the customer base to support it, I thought the thing to do was to teach people how to grow some of their own food on the land that they had.”

The Lower Ninth, the poorest and worst hit ward in New Orleans, is home to five lots where flowers, herbs, greens, and fruits grow, and where people are taught how to become neighborhood vendors. The gardens are a resource to teach people what seasonal is: enjoying the foods that are ripe at the moment and learning to wait for those that are not. “We accept the things that we can get as opposed to things that we want,” says Bell.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

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