295: Emily Mickley-Doyle on Community Agriculture.

Bringing healthy food and education to urban tables through community engagement.

Emily earned her degree in Sociology from Loyola University New Orleans in 2008. In 2011, she cofounded SPROUT NOLA, an urban farming organization that spreads the love of growing fresh, healthy food through community engagement and outreach, partnerships with local food vendors and food justice organizations, hands-on training programs, and advocacy.  

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SPROUT NOLA grows market gardens throughout New Orleans, publicly advocates for sustainable agriculture, and coordinates the ReFresh Community Farm and market, a teaching garden that is located at the ReFresh Project. The garden offers educational resources to community members about home gardening and facilitates an on-site community garden where neighbors can grow and harvest food for themselves.  

In This Podcast:

Creating a successful community health hub is no small feat, and Emily Mickley-Doyle has been part of doing just that in her part of New Orleans using an empty grocery store building, a desire to teach others how to grow food, and some fabulous ideas. The space now has several programs including a community garden, a teaching kitchen for doctors, a farmers market, and programs for the community youth to learn gardening and cooking skills. SPROUT NOLA is amazing, inspiring, and basically EPIC!   


Listen in and learn about: 

    • Her work in New Orleans helping people with AIDS stay on treatment programs and seeing what happens when they ate healthy 
    • Her high interest in food access for the people in the community 
    • Getting motivated to help others grow their own healthy food in the New Orleans area 
    • Being part of the redevelopment create a community health hub from a former grocery store in a food desert with several resources 
    • Including the world’s first medical kitchen teaching doctors about how to use food as medicine instead of pharmaceuticals 
    • Along with a community garden, the market, work training program for young people, and more 
    • A picture of The ReFresh Community Farm  
    • The Volunteer for Veggies time that helps those who are willing to give some time to others in the garden 
    • Wanting to help a wide audience by teaching others how to grow their own food 
    • SPROUT NOLA – Sustainable Produce Reaching Our Urban Table, New Orlean,s Louisiana  
    • How their mission is being filled  
    • The monthly kids program where kids can walk to the club and learn about growing food and about the larger food system 
    • A week-long gardening/cooking/nutrition/wellness camp program 
    • An onsite farmers market that is popular with a wide variety of garden products 
    • How medical students are spending their time in the garden 
    • The community gardener leadership program 
    • How some of the new leaders have acquired a grant to get paid for some of their part-time work 
    • A story of a time that while she was in the initial stages of planning the garden, she met a teenager riding by who was excited about every aspect of what was coming and where he is now (EPIC callout) 
    • How connected she feels to everyone involved 

As well as: 

Her failure – early attempts to set up gardening areas in blighted or unused areas that were almost completely set up, but then had to be taken down due to lack of contracts and protections 

Producers Note:  There is an important discussion here for ANYONE interested in starting a community program 

Her success – The birth of the ReFresh Community Farm, and getting the community engaged enough to help win a funding grants including one with major competition 

Her drive – The relationships built in the garden 

Her advice – Know that a season takes time, Gardeners are specifically positioned to understand that things take time and that the big picture might not be easily seen so Take those gardening concepts and apply them to the rest of your life 

Emily’s Book recommendations: 

Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit by Andrew Moore 

HERE is a link to Andrew’s podcast 

How to reach Emily: 

Website:  www.sproutnola.org 


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