Believe There is Good
The lower Ninth Ward was probably the hardest hit district in the City of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. While it has never fully recovered, there are some amazing efforts underway that demonstrate triumph over adversity. One such project is Capstone Community Gardens and its founder, David Young. The volunteer organization has reclaimed thirty abandoned lots within the ward and provides free produce to its many low-income families. Swiss chard, Brussel sprouts, mustard greens, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes are regularly harvested to supplement the diets of what local officials often refer to as the “poorest of the poor.” In addition to urban farming, David is a beekeeper providing an environmentally friendly home for unwanted bees. Because of the dilapidated condition of many of the abandoned buildings in the area, bees have become a major problem. But instead of calling an exterminator, David comes in with a low-suction vacuum and collects the bees. He then transports them to hives that he tends throughout the ward. The bees give back to the community by pollinating the gardens’ plants. Honey is collected and processed to provide revenue for the organization. Captsone is also home to goats, who earn their keep by “moving” the weeds. Chickens also supply fresh eggs for the residents. Each week volunteers pack bags of harvested food for area shut-ins.
David Young is affectionately known as “Santa” because of his full white beard, the twinkle in his eyes and his merry dimples. His generosity, however, is not limited to one night … but throughout the entire year. “If we all did our part…” he says, “If we all did what we could to help one another and our environment …. imagine how peaceful and wonderful the world would be.”