This man grows free food in abandoned lots for the city’s poorest residents while creating a safe haven for bees.
Many people are forced to live a life without basic needs and struggle to provide for themselves or their families. Thus, it’s our primary responsibility as humans to help them.
And one man with a big heart and great vision is setting an example by improving the lives of some of the poorest and most vulnerable residents in his neighborhood.
More than a decade ago, Hurricane Katrina left devastating destruction in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.
Even today, there are still abandoned and dilapidated buildings in the area. And swarms of bees are posing threats to the residents trying to rebuild their homes.
The survival of honeybees on the planet is crucial, and preventing their extinction is not an option. Their demise would severely affect the entire agricultural sector.
With that in mind, David Young created Capstone Community Gardens that support low-income city residents and honeybees in need of safe, environmentally-friendly homes.
Young has erected more than 30 abandoned lots, where he grows everything from Swiss Chard to Brussel sprouts, mustard greens, kale, cucumbers, and tomatoes. And residents can harvest the foods whenever they want to.
Speaking of Young’s projects, a 39-year-old Capstone volunteer Amy Kraus said:
“There are no good grocery stores around this area. The Lower Ninth Ward is the area that was devastated the most – the worst of the worst.”
While there’s a food pantry that opens once every month to the public, it doesn’t provide sustainable food for all residents.
“If you’re low-income, if you don’t have any money if you have no way to support yourself… Or don’t have enough to live off of, they give a small amount of food for the entire month.”
“So David has made sure that these gardens are all over the community. People can go and harvest them at any time if they feel the need for the food… I think this is a wonderful thing.”
The gardens also play host to rescued honeybees.
People whose property is infested with bees can call Young, who evacuates the insects with a low-vacuum cleaner and releases them into the gardens.
Also, Capstone is home to goats who earn their keep by ‘weeding’ the unwanted plants in the bushy lots. This helps keep the community tidy without the need to use lawnmowers.
Young also keeps chickens near the gardens, which helps create a steady supply of eggs that provide a protein source for the families.
“We take the eggs that we collect from the chickens, and we’ll take them to people – who, you know, either can’t get out of their house to get food for themselves. Or they don’t have enough money.”
“We also delivered food bags with eggs, cabbage, spinach, and greens to those who needed it.”
“I call David the ‘Santa Claus of Food’ because he seriously looks like Santa Claus.”
“If we all did our part, if we all did what we could for our community, to help one another, to help the environment as much as we could, could you imagine how peaceful and how wonderful life would be?”
Unlike Santa, Young and his team don’t just work one day of generosity. They help their community all year round.