Vintage Garden Farms grows crops from seed and uses sustainable urban farming practices in Metairie and Chalmette. Arc Enterprises is a subsidiary of Arc of Greater New Orleans. The mission for all Arc -owned social enterprises is to promote independence by providing jobs for adults with intellectual disabilities.
MEET OUR FARMERS:
Vintage Garden Farm Manager: Kasey Mitchell
Kasey Mitchell grew up helping out on his Uncle's farm in central Missouri. He fed the cows, harvested wheat and learned that what you get out of a farm is what you put into it. At age 23 on a walk for peace across America, he worked with a Hopi Elder planting native corn in the sands of Arizona. On Navajo lands he was first introduced to permaculture and the idea that you can farm in a way that is not destructive to the Earth. His keen interest in permaculture took him to the Lama Foundation in the high mountains of San Cristobal, New Mexico. The Lama Foundation is committed to cultivating a harmonious relationship with the land. As a resident, Kasey spent ten years studying permaculture. Through the lens of permaculture, Lama residents focus on creating a holistic food system tailored to the site, climate and living communities in the region. In 1996, the 7600-acre fire that swept through those mountains and the Lama property put his newly learned skills to the test. He was part of a team at the Lama community that rebuilt homes and community buildings, stabilized soils, and replanted the forest and gardens. He then moved to India and worked with farmers around South Asia to develop organic farming programs and integrate permaculture into their farming technologies.
Chalmette Site Farm Supervisor: Jafar Lambert-Koeller Jafar has been gardening with his family since childhood, learning the skills and discipline to maintain a successful garden. He attended Tulane University and acquired a B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After graduating he volunteered with the Peace Corps in Zambia working on a program to promote food security and income generation through improved and sustainable practices. There he maintained a field to demonstrate such methods as conservation farming, agroforestry, alley cropping and crop rotation. Now working with the Vintage Garden Farms, Jafar has been managing the new six acre site in Chalmette.
Benefits of using native plants in your landscape:
*Invasive species threaten not only Louisiana's economy and environment, but also its unique cultural identity in America - one based on our bayous and back swamps, our rich history and famous cuisine, and our core industries. In recent years, aquatic plants from around the world - hydrilla, water hyacinth and salvinia - have clogged the waterways that make Louisiana a "sportsman's paradise." Henderson Lake near Lafayette had to be drained to eliminate a mat of hydrilla so thick that marinas, swamp tour operators, and fishermen could no longer use the lake.
Although VGF is not a certified organic farm, organic practices are applied by growing from seed, composting waste, building soil and utilizing natural irrigation practices. The three farms currently employ 9 people with disabilities. VG Farms is becoming a resource for native and edible plants in the region.
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