SHHS Latin teacher founds non-profit


Max Depatie

SHHS senior follows Latin teacher Scott Roos, founder of Farming New Orleans, after buying fruit trees to plant on a newly-acquired piece of land.

Claire Devereux, Senior Reporter

New fruit trees are now located in the Lower and Upper Ninth Ward, one of the poorest neighborhoods in New Orleans, thanks to a non-profit organization founded by a Stuart Hall & Convent faculty member.

Latin teacher Scott Roos founded Farming New Orleans as a means of addressing the Ninth Ward food desert, neighborhood with limited food access after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.

“Ever since the storm hit, I have wanted to go back and help,” Roos, a New Orleans native who evacuated the area during the storm, said. “I went down to New Orleans and interviewed people in the urban agriculture scene to see what was needed the most — which was fresh fruit.”

Farming New Orleans currently has three 35-by-120 feet plots located in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The non-profit obtained one plot of land as a donation and the other two are rented for $1 a year from Habitat for Humanity.

The organization plans to raise money to purchase more of land, according to Roos. With the eventual goal of having the surrounding community come and garden, have people living on site working with livestock, bees, fruits, vegetables and also have homeless outreach allowing the homeless to live on their land.

“As a non-profit, we welcome and solicit for donations,” SHHS theology teacher Ray O’Connor who is the group’s secretary, said “If a sizable amount is donated, we can expand our operations and benefit more people.”

Although the orchards are for the community, their fruits will not be available for a while.

“It will take up to four years for the trees to grow to their full potential and become a reliable food source,” Roos said.

Meanwhile, former SHHS employee Matt Jones, who is the treasurer for the organization, manages the properties and on-site operations in New Orleans.

Like Roos, many board members such as Carol Rosanelli help operate the organization from San Francisco.

“The need for fresh fruits, vegetables and local involvement, is desperately needed,”  Rosanelli said “Providing these things will go a long way in healing of the Ninth Ward.” 

Farming New Orleans accepts financial gifts online at Farming New Orleans is a 501(c)3 organization, making all donations tax deductible.

“I’ve always wanted to provide help for New Orleans and just help feed people,” Roos said. “With Farming New Orleans, I was able to do both.”