Green Around Acadiana | EarthShare Gardens

In an unassuming area on the outskirts of Lafayette, there's a "secret" garden, one that grows tons of organic produce almost year-round. This space is known as the EarthShare community garden, and it's been growing for more than 10 years - first in a space off Louisiana Avenue, and now off Renaud Road (with I-10 in the background).

EarthShare Gardens is a true community effort. Those interested in reaping the benefits of the garden's produce sign up to become members/shareholders before each season begins, but there's also the opportunity to offset your membership fee with a little sweat equity. EarthShare members can volunteer their time to tend to gardening needs and prepare each week's harvest for pickup.

Earthshare currently offers three 12-week community supported agriculture (CSA) seasons each year, starting late February, mid May, and late September. One third of each week’s harvest is designated for donation and the remaining two thirds of each harvest is divided equally among shareholders.

The donated food goes to FoodNet, St. Joseph's Diner, Second Harvest, Salvation Army, Acadiana CARES and Faith House.

The gardens are also a community effort in that they work with other local companies and farms for everything from mulch to compost, plant seeds and starters. Much of the compost comes from the city of Lafayette's community compost pile, and is supplemented with food waste. I suppose this means my husband and I help support EarthShare whenever we put out our yard waste for pickup!

I got a chance to visit and tour the EarthShare Gardens one recent weekend, and it was super interesting to see all of the produce and rows of plants. While I've known about the gardens for years, and regularly saw it at its location on Louisiana Avenue, I hadn't seen the new location.

After you park and walk up to the garden, you almost don't even see just how many different types of vegetables, herbs and fruits are being grown this summer. It's a fun exploration process to walk through the rows and see what's growing.

I met with Chris, executive director of EarthShare Gardens and one of the founding members of the garden in 2006, and he took me on a tour of the gardens, starting with a row of gorgeous flowers and fragrant herbs.

We saw watermelons, cushaw squash, okra (and I learned that okra plants have the most beautiful yellow flowers), tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, rosemary and peppers.


I also got to see what a turmeric plant looks like, and learned that turmeric is a relative of the ginger family. Thus, it looks a lot like a ginger plant, which have some of my favorite leaves. How graceful are these leaves!?

Chris explained that the garden follows organic farming practices and avoids using chemicals and pesticides. In addition to being better for your health, it also allows shareholders and those in need to have access to fresh, organic produce.

If you're interested in participating in Lafayette's community supported agriculture, contact EarthShare Gardens to become a shareholder before their fall planting season and harvest, which typically starts in September.


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