Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (SARDI)

The Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (SARDI) located in Opelousas, La., is the satellite campus of the Southern University Ag Center. The Institute focuses on improving the socioeconomic well-being of citizens in rural communities within a ten-parish region of St. Landry, Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline, Lafayette, Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, and Vermillion Parishes.

The Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Institute (SARDI) was developed to introduce a sustainable approach to agriculture as a component of cooperative extension at the Southern University Ag Center. We understood then, that there were needs to address the challenges we were experiencing in food insecurity and an ever changing environment. Our current site in Opelousas, La was designed to show producers of Southwest La. how an ecosystem of plants and animals could coexist in one setting.

The concepts of sustainability include plant production systems (high wind tunnels, raised box gardens, hydroponics, and vertical farming), small animal production systems (pastured poultry, rabbit production, aquaculture (fish or crawfish), and honey bees). Currently, two high wind tunnels are in existence. Also, the addition of a solar panel grid is in the plans to capture energy for use in the building. 

SARDI’s Primary Objectives:
  1. Provide leadership that assures focused, applied rural development research and community outreach
  2. Increase awareness and understanding of rural development conditions, issues strategies and policies
  3. Provide rural community stakeholders and policy makers with information necessary for public policy decision-making.
  4. Recruit students to attend Southern University and A&M College with a concentration in Agriculture Sciences.


SARDI has partnered with various groups to expand the sustainable approach in the community. Some of these groups are:
  • Agromen Inc. (local Ag group held in conjunction of annual field day)

  • Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana (raised box gardens, healthy living and eating habits)

  • Council on Aging (health fairs)

  • Eight elementary and two high schools (raised box gardens, 4-H, and healthy living)

  • Hope for Opelousas (local nonprofit with after school programs in nutrition and healthy living)

  • The Refinery of Opelousas (homeless shelter for men, hoop houses and raised box gardens) to name a few.

For more information, contact:

Antonio Harris, M.S.
Program Leader, SARDI/Director
1209 Diesi Street
Opelousas, LA 70570
Office: (337) 943-2410

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