Inspiration from Iberia, Louisiana

The 21st Century Renaissance is dependent on individuals proactively making a difference. It has been an inspiration for me to meet seemingly ordinary people making remarkable impacts on their communities.

Last week, I was in Louisiana on a business trip when an email from Evelyn Ducote blew me away. Ms. Ducote said she was inspired by the #TeamRenaissance movement and she wanted to find a way to do something similar in her community. After reading her story and then visiting her, I am thrilled to share this story with all of #TeamRenaissance.

iberia

Ms. Ducote began working for an agency that promotes economic development in Iberia Parish, Louisiana called Iberia Industrial Development Foundation. Iberia Parish is a small, rural community about 20 miles South of Lafayette, Louisiana. For two years Ms. Ducote researched every avenue she could to find funds to start a hydroponic greenhouse in her community. This past October, her team received some funds to start a hydroponic community garden in one of the poorest sections of New Iberia. Here is the link to the facebook page of that project:

https://www.facebook.com/iberiagardencoop

They then started a small cooperative of home-based hydroponic gardeners that are growing heirloom vegetables. Here is their facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/heirloomproduce

And now they are starting a third hydroponic cooperative garden in a town in her Parish that lost just about all of its business base when the local sugar mill shut down a few years ago. The best thing about this cooperative is that it is being run by a Veteran that did several tours in Iraq. Louis Lancon is using the skills he used in rebuilding towns in Iraq to rebuild the town he lives in. Ms. Ducote was extremely proud of this point, and she should be! Here is the link to his cooperative’s facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/sugarcitygrowers

All of the cooperatives will be participating in three local farmer’s markets they developed to serve different areas of their parish. They also hope to produce enough crops to allow the cooperatives to sell their produce wholesale to local and regional restaurants.

Ms. Ducote finished her email to me with this:

So if you ever doubted what you were doing, and ever wondered if you were making a difference, the answer is YES!! Your passion and belief in what you are doing motivated me to find a way to make this happen in our town! People were sick of hearing me go on and on about the amazing thing you were doing, and how I wanted to find a way to make something like that work here. Now they are all believers!”

She also invited me to visit her in Iberia, which I did last week. It was an honor to meet people with an incredible drive to do good in the world. This is what #TeamRenaissance is all about!

Ms. Ducote, thank you so much for all you have done. You have become the change the world needs so desperately. We all owe you our gratitude and support.

Onward and Upward,

Dylan