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Federal City Community Garden Takes Root

Federal City Community Garden

A community garden is taking root in Federal City. One goal is to unite established West Bank neighborhoods with 200 families living at the former Navy base.

Driving through Federal City can give an impression that not much is happening in the traditional sense of neighborhood. Pedestrians are rare. There’s very little retail.

But there are residents, including master gardener Cindy Metcalf.

Her husband is a retired Navy helicopter pilot, but now works at the Department of Defense at the former military base. There are about 200 families living in military housing at Federal City.

When she saw an abandoned tennis court, she had an idea.

“There still needs to be more going on out here," Metcalf said. "And so I felt like the community garden would kind of make it more of a green space, a more community-minded space.”  

Jeremiah Oehlerich moved into Federal City military housing in 2011, as the base was transitioning into a 156-acre mixed use development.

His family signed up for one of the 32 garden beds as a source of vegetables, and a way to meet people who live in different neighborhoods.

“I definitely see them trying to make use of the space, kind of hoping that things would develop a little bit more than what they have," he said. "We have Subway, and a barber and stylist, and a lot of other empty lots that we’re kind of eyeing in some of the other areas, waiting for other people to move in and start developing.”  

Mimi Lucurto is nurse, living in Algiers. She heard about the garden through Metcalf and wanted to use it as a teaching tool for healthy eating.

“This is my only connection to Federal City, besides Cindy being my friend," Lucurto said. "This is the only reason why I come here. So I’m glad that people from the outside are coming in and discovering it.”  

Metcalf says the ultimate goal is to establish a farmers market.

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.