The idea for Earthshare Gardens arose in 2002, became reality with our first quarter acre garden in 2005, and grew into a four acre urban farm by 2013.
Initiated by a group of UL student AmeriCorps volunteers, UL SPEAK members, and like-minded community members, EarthShare Gardens got its start in 2002. Over the following 2 years we held lots of community meetings, looked for examples to learn from and dreamed of the future. By 2005 we had spoken with representatives of the Lafayette Catholic Diocese Office of Justice and Peace, the Office of Black Catholic Ministries and members of the Holy Rosary Alumni Association. They liked our proposal for a community focused, food production garden and agreed that our first gardens could be founded on the grounds of the historic Holy Rosary Institute. We started small, not larger than a good sized home garden, and followed always a “grow slow” philosophy – making sure we did not over stretch ourselves or fall short by promising more than we could deliver. Starting in 2006 we created a dedicated donation garden, growing produce strictly to donate to those in need. By 2013 we filled 4 acres with produce, herbs, flowers and yes, compost!
Our gardens have been an incubator for Lafayette’s local food movement. In 2005 Earthshare Gardens was the first to open a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Acadiana and the second that we know of in the state of Louisiana. We led the way by embracing, from our founding, organic and sustainable production techniques, a practice still rare in South Louisiana.