NolaTilth Makes Flowers out of Blight

Megan Webbeking, Propeller Fellow and Founder of NolaTilth moved to New Orleans from Seattle and started a farm in New Orleans East. Several months of hard work and determination later, her flowers are blooming and members are joining the CSA.

13 March 2013

Like thousands of others, I transplanted to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.  I came here to give my sister a hand after she was flooded, and stayed because I loved the warmth (I’m from Seattle), the friendly people, the sense of community – I could go on and on. 

It didn’t take long to realize I was not going to be satisfied with a garden in my 15 x  30 ft., mostly bricked backyard. In Washington I had, at times, lived on a farm or had access to nearby acreage to grow my own vegetables and flowers. I thought that with New Orleans’ long, warm growing seasons and abundant rainfall, cultivating a garden would be twice as easy as in the Northern regions with their short summers.

Here, though, I ran into new surprises. For example, Nola Tilth CSA members and I have learned to plant our flowers and vegetables in mounded rows so the roots won’t rot. Although this seems obvious now, I had never seen it before.

As we work, neighbors from the Vietnamese community pass by. They ask us about what we’re doing and give us advice on sunscreen, what we should be growing, how we should be getting our water and where we should store our equipment. All of it is helpful and much appreciated because we are at the beginning of a very long learning curve.

Months of hard labor are starting to show off. Flowers are beginning to bloom and people passing by are responding with praise for the beauty of the flowers and improvements on the lot. It’s been a challenge so far, but I love every minute of it and the rewards are well worth the work.

To join Megan's CSA or to purchase some of her flowers and veggies, visit her website

Ventures mentioned in this post

Nola Tilth

Nola Tilth

Megan Webbeking

Areas of focus: Food