Community Member

34th Street Wholistic Gardens and Education Center

Gulfport, Mississippi

The 34th Street Wholistic Gardens & Education Center in Gulfport, MS was established in 2016 by founder and executive director James L. Franklin to address food deserts and food insecurities and promote environmental education among the vulnerable. The federal government defines food deserts as “areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.” A food desert can be in an urban area, where only convenience and liquor stores are within walking distance or in rural areas where the nearest supermarket is at least 10 miles away. The Gardens’ goal is to make the MS Gulf Coast Region’s food healthy again by offering a purposefully designed organic and hydroponic wellness park that allows people of all ages and cultures to grow healthy foods and participate in activities that promote health, wellness and good stewardship of the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. 

Volunteers at the 34th Street Community Garden (Photo courtesy of the 34th Street Community Garden and Education Center)

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is a vibrant region, home to many diverse cultures. However, its location exposes the area to the natural challenges of floods, high winds and storms. One of those storms, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, devastated communities and exacerbated an issue that is still ongoing for some – the increase of food deserts and access to nutritious foods and grocery stores. To help alleviate this issue, the Gardens provides workshops, training and seminars through outdoor classrooms, a year-round Environmental Earth Youth Club and a summer youth camp to educate and motivate the community about gardening, healthy eating and the environment. The Gardens comprises a diverse group of volunteers from communities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast that includes master and beginner gardeners, representatives from educational institutions and residents from surrounding communities.

Volunteers working in the garden (Photo courtesy of the 34th Street Community Garden and Education Center)

For more information:

34th Street Wholistic Gardens holds field day event, WXXV, January 2022

Gardeners put green thumb to use during quarantine at 34th Street Community Garden, WLOX, April 2020

The 34th Street Wholistic Gardens & Education Center, Inc. in Gulfport Receives Second Place Gulf Guardian Award in the Environmental Justice/Cultural Diversity Category, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency press release, November 2017

Gulfport’s green thumb: Wholistic Gardens has big plans, The Sun Herald, April 2017

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry

Dorothy Terry is a journalist by profession, having worked as a daily newspaper reporter on both coasts and a contributing writer for several national magazines. She is a former Congressional press secretary and has worked as a communications manager and consultant for corporations and nonprofits.


James L. Franklin, Founder and Executive Director


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Drought, Flooding, Heat, Hurricanes/Tropical Storms

Environmental Justice Concerns

Air Pollution, Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Fracking/Oil and Gas Development/Pipelines, Groundwater Contamination, Hazardous/Toxic Sites, Incinerator/Dumping/Landfill, Industrial Agriculture/Animal Waste, Sewage/Sewage Treatment, Superfund Sites


Community Farm/Gardens, Community Land Trusts/Land Conservation, Community Organizing and Education, Direct Relief and Aid, Green Infrastructure, Nature-Based Solutions, Policy Reform, Political activism, including protests, petitions, and lobbying

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations