A man from New Orleans has turned more than 30 abandoned lots around the city into refuges for bees as well as places to grow free food for those in need in his community. David Young founded his own nonprofit called Capstone Community Gardens after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of the city, now using the land to grow fruit and vegetables including cucumber, kale, Brussels sprouts, and more, all of which people in the area can take without charge.
- The Lower Ninth Ward is a food desert for many who live there. As Young explained, it’s hard to find fresh, healthy, high quality food in the Lower Ninth Ward, so the gardens are a welcome sight. “There are no good grocery stores around this area,” Capstone volunteer Amy Kraus told Good News Network. “The Lower Ninth Ward is the area that was devastated the most – the worst of the worst.”
- Even the local food pantry doesn’t meet residents’ needs. While the food pantry does provide vital grocery items to locals, Kraus points out that the food the pantry provides doesn’t cover everything and many families are still left needing more. “If you’re low-income, if you don’t have any money, if you have no way to support yourself, that is not enough to live off of. They give a small amount of food for the entire month,” she explained. “So David has made sure that these gardens are all over the community and people can go harvest them at any time, if they feel the need for the food – which I think is a wonderful thing.”
- The rescued honeybees who live in the gardens are a wonderful touch. The bees are collected from homes and businesses via a low-suction vacuum cleaner and transported to the gardens along with their hives. Not only can they live safely and happily there, but they also help cross-pollinate the plant life, so it’s a double win.
- Goats also do their part to chip in. Capstone has a herd of goats that help keep the land clear by eating the weeds that grow there. They get to share an enclosure with chickens that provide eggs for residents as well. It’s a pretty incredible undertaking!