I am really interested in ‘alternative pedagogies’ (hence my involvement with service-learning) and in community gardens (hence my involvement with Meal Exchange) – Our School at Blair Grocery links both – it’s an alternative school for marginalized youth pushed out of the formal education system in the Lower 9th Ward. The “school” combines academic learning with activism, entrepreneurship, and skill development in sustainable, urban agriculture. OSBG gives youth another chance and new opportunities. When over 50% of African-American 9th graders won’t graduate, NOLA needs more initiatives like the School at Blair Grocery. Even before Hurricane Katrina, public schools in NOLA were crumbling and lacked resources (such as desks, textbooks, well-trained teachers, special education etc). Critics linked the public education system to the juvenile system where too many youth end up, dubbing the link “the school-to-prison-pipeline.”
Students at Our School at Blair Grocery learn about urban gardening, and their produce is sold to New Orleans restaurants. Along the way, students learn business schools as they negotiate the price of sprouts with a local chef, or prepare produce for the farmer’s market. OSBG does incredible work, and our team can’t wait to visit and learn more. Their needs are also incredible, and if you want to help a remarkable grassroots community project, there are several ways you can contribute. Their wish list includes (and we’d be happy to transport smaller items!)
Wish list items: Apple Laptops (new or used), an iPad, a 5-gallon salad spinner, a 4×8 whiteboard, an electric stove, a digital camera, flat seeding trays, 500ft ethernet cable
Gift Cards for Lowes or Home Depot
If you can help: contact Erin Kaipainen at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, February 18.