New Orleans Permaculture Action Day
On Saturday April 30th, we hosted the VERY FIRST Permaculture Action Day in New Orleans, Louisiana with Rising Appalachia at CRISP Farms in the upper 9th ward. CRISP Farms is a quirky half-acre lot in the heart of the Bywater. CRISP was first established 3 years ago when neighborhood resident Zachary George decided to purchase a vacant lot next to his home. He began by building soil with mulch and planting a few fruit trees with the help of a few youth from his block. Soon the garden became a place for the neighborhood boys to hang out and learn how to plant. The project expanded when Zachary bought the lot adjacent to his home and another a few blocks down the road. CRISP now regularly holds workshops, youth education programs, and open community events, such as the 9th Ward Festival that attracts local musicians and artists from all over the city.
The Permaculture Action Day was opened by sisters Leah and Chloe of Rising Appalachia doing an acapella performance of “Mississippi Song,” a song the girls wrote while they were living in a nearby neighborhood in New Orleans.
Nearly a hundred people showed up to put their hands to work on a variety of projects, coming from around the neighborhood and as far away as Victoria, Canada, and Florida to join us for the Permaculture Action Day. In just 4 hours we planted over 80 starts, made 100 seed balls, planted two fruit trees, and built an entire pergola which will soon have jasmine and passion fruit vines growing up it to add ambiance to the stage area that hosts neighborhood events. The afternoon turned into a real party when Biko Casini of Rising Appalachia and Arouna Diarra played a beautiful acoustic set while people worked.
“CRISP reaches out and involves the community and the children. It adds greenery, [and] contributes food and free education about nutrition to the neighborhood,” said neighbor Farrow Sampier. When asked what he would like to see more of in his neighborhood Sampier responded; “More events like this where the community can come together, speak out and reconnect.”
Farrow is a 22 year old youth empowerment organizer for the Friends and Family of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) and has lived in the 9th ward his whole life. He said that his favorite part of the day was sharing his spoken word and getting to build a pergola.
The event ended joyously with volunteers dancing in the rain to the beats of a drum circle until the April thunderstorms finally brought the afternoon to an end.
The celebration continued into Rising Appalachia’s show the next day at The House of Blues New Orleans for Jazz Fest 2016.
We will be joining Rising Appalachia just two weeks from now in Colorado for their Red Rocks show with Elephant Revival and will be hosting a Permaculture Action Day at Seeds of Power Unity Farm in Denver the day before on May 21st.
CRISP Farms: http://www.permacultureaction.org/nola-action-day/
Friends and Family of Lousiana’s Incarcerated Children: http://www.fflic.org/
Rising Appalachia Music: http://www.risingappalachia.com/
Denver Action Day: https://www.facebook.com/events/1740911666188419/