As I write this blog it’s the 4th of July weekend. Most of the country is celebrating our freedom while remembering those individuals who made it possible. Even our church service this morning was very patriotic. The congregation was asked to wear red, white and blue. We had flags displayed on the church grounds and in the sanctuary.
To wrap things up our pastor delivered a message that tied everything together. He started by saying “nothing that is morally wrong can be politically right.” It led to a sermon about righteousness and how it applies to our lives as Christians. He reminded us that it’s righteous to take care of the poor and under-served.
In that moment he answered a question I’ve posed to God for weeks. As I’ve been contemplating how I’m going to shift my focus I’ve been seeking God for guidance. I believe a great part of my purpose is to be of service to under-served communities. It is my profound belief that everybody should have access to whole, nutritious foods despite their income. That is the core belief that sparked the changes I’m making in my business and my blog.
My mission will be to provide low income communities in the city of Atlanta with access to whole, nutritious foods and to educate them about practical ways to use those foods to improve their health.
It’s the ideal way for me to take what I’ve learned and share it with the people who need it most. I don’t expect it to be easy. Real change takes time. But I do expect it to be worth it.
After leaving church, I decided to explore a low income community that I’ve been hearing a lot about. Emory University’s Urban Health Initiative is spearheading a project in Northwest Atlanta to create happier and healthier communities through educational gardening.
They literally started this garden on a concrete lot behind a neighborhood grocery store on the former Bankhead Highway – one of the most impoverished communities in the city. By working with the community and employees of the Super Giant grocery store they created the garden by using raised beds. It’s a classic example of where there’s a will there’s a way.
Exploring this neighborhood further confirmed the necessity of me making the shift to work more with under-served communities. Sometimes I complain that I’m not able to buy all organic foods all the time from Whole Foods. Nevertheless, I’m still fortunate to be able to access it.
That is not something that everybody can do. So, until that is a reality, I have a purpose. I can provide alternatives that allow low income families to access whole, nutritious, organic foods.
So, I’m no longer asking the question of what I need to do. I’m now exploring the many ways that I can help. I’m just one person, but if everybody did what they could to make life better for all, then it would make a tremendous impact. The beauty about these types of projects is there are so many people doing this kind of work that you’re never really alone. There are resources to get started no matter where you are.
If getting involved in or starting a community garden is of interest to you, here are just some of the many benefits:
- Improves the quality of life for people in the garden
- Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
- Encourages self-reliance
- Beautifies neighborhoods
- Produces nutritious food
- Reduces family food budgets
- Conserves resources
- Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
- Reduces crime
- Preserves green space
The American Community Gardening Association offers a wealth of information about how to get a community garden up and running. Just visit the ACGA website at www.communitygarden.org. Follow the link to “Start a Community Garden.”