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For $250/Year, Rent An Empty Lot, Grow Your Own Farm

The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, with no shortage of empty lots on its hands, is getting back to the land with the blight fighting in its latest launch of an Alternative Land Use program called Growing Green. The dirt: NORA controls about 2,500 city-owned parcels of vacant land around town and for the sweet price of $250 a year (plus insurance, which reportedly runs in the $400 per year range) many of those lots can now be leased for urban agriculture projects. Setting the standard is the Sankofa Community Development Corporation with their 6,000-square-foot vegetable "mini farm" on St. Claude Court in the Lower 9th Ward that serves as a learning garden for students. They also tend to a 500-square-foot community garden where the produce is up for grabs for local residents. Other NORA Green projects include rain gardens (like this one on a NORA-owned lot in Gentilly); Growing Home, a match-up with the Lot Next Door program that gives discounts to Lot Next Door buyers "in exchange for investments in improvements on site such as trees, grasses and raised planters"; and a lot beautification program with LSU's Urban Landscape Lab.
· NORA pushes for greening, gardening of unsold vacant lots [NOLA.com]
· New Orleans redevelopment authority [official site]
· NORA coverage [Curbed NOLA]