Ms. Jenga Mwendo

New Orleans, Louisiana
United States

Focus Areas

Economic Security
Community Development
Food Systems
Food Systems


Jenga Mwendo is the founder of the Backyard Gardeners Network (, whose mission is to sustain and strengthen the historically self-sufficient and deeply rooted community of the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, LA. Through revitalizing the cultural tradition of vegetable gardening, we will in turn revitalize our devastated neighborhood, preserve our cultural heritage, and make our community more food secure. Since 2007, Mwendo has worked to strengthen the Lower Ninth Ward community – organizing neighbors to revitalize and create gardens, planting trees, and developing support systems to encourage and support the culture of growing in the neighborhood. She is the winner of the 2010 Cox Conserves Heroes award for her work developing outdoor community spaces. She was awarded a 2010 TogetherGreen Fellowship ( to focus on community-building around the two gardens. The following year, she was accepted into the 2011-13 IATP Food And Community Fellowship program to continue her work. In addition to developing her organization, she has also worked with the Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, leading a Food Action Planning Initiative (, and with Tulane City Center as a community organizer. Most recently, Mwendo was featured in the 2014 Aetna African-American History calendar which highlighted African-Americans nationwide building sustainable neighborhoods.