This month, Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s (KLB) Community Affiliates had the opportunity to learn from Lauren Jones, Shreveport Green’s Urban Farm Director, about efforts to repurpose and revitalize a once vacant 2-acre lot along historic Sprague Street in Shreveport. The farm, a collaboration between KLB Community Affiliate, Shreveport Green; Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO); and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), is designed for growing a variety of fresh produce and is strategically positioned to serve the city’s 19 food deserts – regions where people have limited access to nutritious and affordable food.
The food grown at the Urban Farm is sold through Shreveport Green’s Mobile Market program at a significantly reduced cost. Residents from HUD Choice Neighborhoods – surrounding neighborhoods identified as experiencing food insecurity – are also able to buy produce through sweat equity, or time worked on the farm.
Education is a key focus of the farm’s mission, offering students from local schools the chance to learn the basics of planting, growing, and cooking healthy food. Curriculum is tailored to each group depending on their base knowledge, which is discovered through a quick assessment quiz. Pictured here you see students watering the seeds they planted in repurposed plastic containers.
Another major focus on the farm is a hydroponic research project. With the support of American Electric Power, SWEPCO, and EPRI, Shreveport Green was invited to participate in agriculture and energy research using a hydroponic container outfitted for indoor agriculture. The hydroponic container has also provided Jones and her team with the chance to grow nutrient dense produce for the community and integrate STEM learning opportunities. Hosting up to 13,000 plants at one time, the container uses 99% less water than traditional farming and utilizes automation software to remotely control the environment, nutrition, and hydration levels. Once the research project concludes, the Urban Farm is able to keep the container to support their mission to feed community members in need.
To learn more about the Urban Farm in Shreveport, contact Lauren Jones at email@example.com or call (318) 219-1888 ext 12.
Photo credit: Shreveport Green