The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority kicks off its latest community development initiative today — the new “Growing Green” project to spruce up the city’s vacant lots.
For $250 a year, anyone can apply to lease a vacant lot and turn it into a community garden or green space, under NORA’s “Growing Green” program. There are about 2,500 unused and empty lots around the city.
NORA head Jeffrey Hebert says that using those spaces to grow a lush green garden or urban farm is a lot more aesthetically pleasing than a vacant lot, healthier for the environment, and beneficial for the economy of a neighborhood.
“We know from studies from other cities across the country that greening a space, maintaining it and having community gardens, shows activity in the neighborhood,” Hebert said. “It not only enhances quality of life, but it also enhances property values. So we’re really interested in creating neighborhood stability, not just from a visual standpoint but from an economic standpoint.”
The Sankofa Community Development Corporation in the Lower 9th Ward is the first participant in the program. They’ll develop and maintain a 6,000 square foot fruit and vegetable orchard.