Drax donates supplies to help grow support for Monroe community garden

Renewable energy company Drax has donated garden composters, wheelbarrows, and a variety of gardening tools to help a community to bloom through a new community garden project in Monroe, LA.

The Ester Gallow Community Garden is a public garden that will be a collaborative space for seniors at Booker T. Senior Village, and children at Roy Neal Shelling Elementary School.

It will offer volunteers an opportunity to plant their own seasonal vegetables as well as providing an inclusive place to socialize and connect with others.

The land for the community garden was donated by Monroe resident Christopher Davis, whose late mother Ester Gallow was passionate about helping the local community and was influential in establishing the Booker T. Senior Village located next to the garden. Christopher believes she would have wanted the land to be used for a meaningful community project.

He said:

“We partnered with colleges, the city, and local organizations to try and put together a garden for the community. We wanted to promote involvement to seniors, students, and anyone in the area that could be a part of it. The garden has grown so much and become so much more special for the community than I could have imagined.”

Juanita Woods, City of Monroe Councilwoman, who was integral in setting up the garden explained how her work with the Roy Shelling Elementary School and her conversations with the residents of the Booker T Senior Village provided the seeds of an idea for a community garden.

“I was attending the school and helping the children to understand where the food they ate came from and I was also aware that the residents of the Booker T. Senior Village wanted to be able to grow their own produce,” she explained. “I decided to approach Christopher Davis to see if we could develop something, in honor of his late mother, that would benefit the community just as much as she did. From there, the idea for the Ester Gallow Community Garden has flourished.”

Juanita now aims to expand the outreach of community gardens all over District 3 in Monroe.

Matt White, Drax Senior Vice President, said:

“The Ester Gallow Community Garden is a great initiative that will benefit local residents by providing fresh produce everyone can enjoy, and enabling people to socialize, encouraging collaboration between the generations. I hope the support from Drax will help the volunteers to create a beautiful garden, that the whole community can be proud of, which could lead to many more gardens developed in the district. I can’t wait to see the positive impact it has.”

Darian Belton, Ester Gallow Community Garden Coordinator, said: “Without the support we have received from the community and partners like Drax, this land is just a garden. We want to reach the point where everyone involved can grow something, allowing us to produce more quality food that we can then share. When everyone does a small amount, so much can get done. This garden will provide access to quality food that is no longer available at grocery stores. We will be growing local, fresh plants that will benefit the health of everyone involved.”

Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations and is this year drawing up plans for a more targeted community spend.

In 2021, Drax supported education and skills in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama and provided donations to help communities hit by natural disasters and Covid and work to support sustainable forestry.

In Louisiana, support included Hurricane Ida relief efforts, sponsoring an environmental education workshop for teachers and launching a Classroom of the Month program.


Picture caption: Ester Gallow Community Garden Coordinator, Darian Belton and Drax Community Manager, Annmarie Sartor

Media contacts:

Megan Hopgood
Communications Officer
E: [email protected]  
T: 07936 350 175

Editor’s Notes

  • Other organizations that volunteered and donated to establish the Ester Gallow Community Garden included The City of Monroe, Louisiana Delta Community College, Ochsner LSU Health Monroe, Russell Moore Lumber, and Sonny Panzico’s Garden Mart.
  • According to the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana, those most vulnerable to hunger are seniors and children. In Northeast Louisiana, 66,000 people may struggle with hunger.
  • Through its operations in Louisiana and Mississippi, Drax supports more than 1,200 jobs and contributes $175m to the region’s economy.
  • This includes more than 1,200 jobs in Louisiana and Mississippi with 300 direct jobs across these two states in Drax’s three pellet mills and at the port of Greater Baton Rouge.
  • Drax’s pellet mills also support the wider supply chain of loggers, truckers, railway workers, port workers and other logistics professionals.

About Drax

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology.

Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com

Power generation:

Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.

Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.

The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4 million tonnes of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.

Pellet production and supply:
The Group has 18 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate production capacity of around 5 million tonnes a year.

Drax is targeting 8 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3 million tonnes of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.

Drax’s pellet plants supply biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses, and also to customers in Europe and Asia.


Drax supplies renewable electricity to UK businesses, offering a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.

To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com