Since its founding in 2005, Common Ground Relief has remained committed to working for environmental and disaster justice.
Our mission is to foster environmental and community stewardship in Southeast Louisiana so that residents can survive and thrive.
CGR works in environmental outreach and education, wetlands restoration, and operates a food pantry from our headquarters in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.
Restoring the Land
Our environmental programs are focused on rebuilding wetlands and forest habitat to promote biodiversity and climate resilience. To meet these goals, we use volunteer labor and native plants such as rushes, bald cypress and Louisiana irises that we grow in our plant nursery. We do this work with the understanding that environmental justice means meeting people’s current needs, understanding their environment and empowering them to protect and rehabilitate the land and water for future generations.
Engaging with Stakeholders
Each year, Common Ground Relief engages with hundreds of volunteers and students, and works with the State of Louisiana to plant thousands of plugs of marsh grasses and native hardwood trees, restoring over 23 miles of shoreline and 17 acres of forest in 2021 alone. Since its founding in 2005, CGR has worked with thousands of volunteers in community care work and environmental rehabilitation. We believe that hands-on experiences with environmental restoration builds connection with the land to empower life-long stewardship.
Mutual Aid and Community Support
Common Ground Relief uniquely manages a food aid program alongside our environmental restoration programs. The Levee Pantry, located within our offices in the Lower 9th Ward, is barrier-free, and we focus on distributing fresh produce and pantry staples, serving an average of 200 families each month. As a small organization, we have also been able to mobilize volunteers quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and tornadoes that hit our neighborhood in 2022.
We do this work because we believe that food security and mutual aid are essential to community health, alongside clean air and water and thriving ecosystems. We also believe that direct material support to the community is a moral imperative and is invaluable in community engagement with our mission.
As a small organization, CGR has a small core staff and is supported by the work of volunteers, both visitors and locals. Visiting volunteers can come live on-site in our volunteer housing. You can learn more about volunteering with us here.