We’re Excited About 2015 And Want You to Join Us to Make it Great!

FASHA_FinalLogoIt’s been a while since we’ve written about our journey. 2014 Was a great year. We launched our program, unsure what was to come, and were pleasantly surprised. Our program participants embraced us, embraced the program, and we received out pouring support from surrounding neighbors and the community. In a word, we were overwhelmed. But in a good way.

8 Nations strong (Zimbabwe, Philippines, USA, Rwanda, Congo, Burundi,  Liberia, Mexico) our urban farm program fed families of varying sizes throughout the summer and the fall of 2014. Our harvests were fruitful. We had kids, and elders working side by side. Every time we worked in the garden, passers-by waved, honked, and gave us thumbs up. Whereas we received push back and resistance from the neighborhood when we first started, this new embrace gave life to our program. Such support helped us forget all the obstacles we faced with getting water on the property, abiding by strict regulations, and a cautious and suspicious community that was unsure about how an urban farm would fit into the neighborhood.

By our estimate, 2014 was a strong and successful year, and we’re wildly looking forward to what 2015 will bring.

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We’ve been busy. Our team has grown, and you’ll get a chance to learn about our addition in the near future. It’s thrilling, and informative, and most importantly, so incredibly helpful to have our new team addition. We’ve also gotten a ton of volunteers. volsinrain

These are people who either heard about or saw something about our program, and decided to come out, and assist our participants. They are one of the reasons we’ve been able to grow. From digging, tilling, and turning the soil, to cutting grass, spreading wood chips, and creating paths, our volunteers have done it all, rain or shine!

Also, we’ve been speaking around town. As more and more people learn about our initiate, they want to know more. They want to hear about it, learn how they can be more involved, and share our stories, with their networks. We have spoken in meetings for community organizations, at schools, at other farm/garden programs, as well as schools. And we’re still at it.

Most importantly, we’ve had a spring season, for the first time since we started. Despite the erratic, harsh, and inclement weather in February and early March, we still planted a variety of crops and are now harvesting.

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We are so excited for what 2015 will bring. We will have our annual summer season groundbreaking celebration on Saturday May 30, 2015. If you’re in town, and want to experience a spectacular type of community initiative stop by! Also, if you’re just looking for an opportunity for outdoor work/fun and volunteering come and join us.

We will be at Paragon Urban Farm from 8AM – 12 PM.

We hope you’ll join us on this day, and the rest of the summer to the end of the year to make it great! We have much more planned, and we hope you’ll continue on this journey with us, because we plan to have a lot of fun doing it!

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We’re Holding a Garden Shower – Donate Tools for Our Community of Farmers

FASHA_FinalLogoSince we work with refugees and immigrants, many of our participants cannot afford to purchase their own tools and seeds. We’re holding a “garden shower” and asking everyone to donate tools.

We’re asking for hoes, watering cans, chicken wire, hoses, nozzles, shovels, and wheel barrels.

Are there any tools you can donate? Can you make a purchase on behalf of our program? Do you have other materials that our garden can use that you can offer?

Please make a contribution today!

Drop off all items on our groundbreaking day!

May 31st, 2014, 8AM-12PM. 505 Paragon Mills, Rd. Find our gift registry here.

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Help bring a smile to someone’s face, as they get to experience the joy of farming, gardening, and working outdoors.

Each contributions is tax deductable. FASHA is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization.

Urban Garden Festival – Success!

This past weekend, the Master Gardners of Davidson County held their Annual Urban Garden Festival. Although it was our first time participating, we enjoyed our overall experience. We got a chance to provide attendees with information about our organization, and our urban farm project. We must have spoken to hundreds of people.

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Workin’ the booth.

Our understanding of the festival is that in the past, it’s attracted about 500 attendees, and this year, attendance tripled, bringing in over 1400 people!

We have found the Master Gardners of Davidson County to be incredibly supportive of our project. Giving us an opportunity to participate in their annual festival was just an extension of the support they have given our project.

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We had a lot of information to share!

They were many opportunities to network with people in similar fields. We were introduced to producers and artisans of all walks, and witness various demonstrations from experts.

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Metro Police showed up. Equestrian style.

We loved the experience, and look forward to participating next year!

 

Official Ground Breaking Scheduled!

FASHA_FinalLogoWe’re so excited about everything that’s been going on with the urban farm. We’re slowly seeing it come to life. We’ve been meeting with community groups, ESL classes, and refugee elders. There is palpable excitement about the project. It’s one of the first of its kind in our city. We’re paving the way and making waves, and we’re happy to have community support.

With that said, we’re pleased to announce that our groundbreaking date is OFFICIALLY SET.

Save the date: May 31st, 2014. We will be working on the site from 8am – 12 noon.

We’re inviting the greater community to join us. Our community of farmers will receive their plots, seeds, and if there are any tools donated, they will receive them too!

We’ve humbly and patiently worked on this project for a while. We’re happy to see it come to fruition. And we hope you will join us!

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We WON! (Seed Money Suppers)

So we got a chance to present at Seed Money Suppers, and won. We are so thrilled that members of the Nashville food community heard our story, and found our idea a worthwhile endeavor. We extend our thank yous to our friends who showed up to support us.

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The voting Ballot.

Our competitor was an equally community driven and necessary endeavor. We wish them well as they pursue seed money for their worthwhile journey.

From the Community Food Advocates’ website, Seed Money Suppers is

A once a month dinner event, a gathering of minds, a community driven micro-grant program to build a healthier and more sustainable food system. Each attendee pays $10 for supper and drinks for adults, $5 for children. $8.75 of every $10 is given to the winning presenter, with $1.25 to cover overhead including food and supplies.

 

Our Vision

 

Seed Money Suppers is a little idea with a big mission, to empower the people in our community to engage with our food system to make access to sustainable and healthy food an option for all.

Community Food Advocates has long been part of the policy and direct service aspect of our food system, but there are needs unfilled. The community funded micro-grant model gives us an opportunity to bring the community to the table to help create a real and lasting impact.

 

Nashville’s food system belongs to us all. Everybody Eats is more than a catch phrase to us, it is a reminder that through food we are all connected. Our hope is that we, as a community, will collectively rise to the challenge, find support in each other, and innovate to create new and creative solutions to the issues of hunger and food system work.

 

Prep Mode Activated!

The last two months have been incredibly busy for us here at FASHA. We’ve been working with a great team of dedicated individuals who are helping us get ready for our project launch at the end of May. We’ve been laying the ground work for what we hope will be a spectacular project that the whole Nashville community can get behind.

Tilling in Progress

Tilling in Progress

As we mentioned in the past, the property we use for our urban farm is a “flood zone” property. That means, it’s one of many properties around Nashville that sits unoccupied, indefinitely, because it tends to flood. The specific property we have access to, used to contain two houses, but since the devastating floods of 2010, both houses were permanently removed. Once the houses were removed along with pipes and plumbing, the only thing left was this empty, but glorious piece of land. We have lots of plans for this space, and we will continue to share them with you as we go along.

Measuring the space we will use.

Measuring the space we will use.

Over the past two months, we have gotten some water/plumbing put back unto the property.

We have water!

We have water!

We got a chance to flag the area, where we will first break ground, and install our farm plots.

Master Gardeners and Extension Office give us a hand in flagging the farming plots

Master Gardeners and Extension Office give us a hand in flagging the farming plots

And we have gotten the Sheriff’s office to assist us with tilling the area.

Heavy Machinery At Work

Heavy Machinery At Work

Every week there is something happening on the property to prepare for the project launch, and ceremonial groundbreaking at the end of May.

Will You Be Having Dinner This Coming Tuesday? Then Have It With Us and Help Us Win!

fashaSometimes, it seems that we are trying to fit a circle into a square, and making the impossible possible. At least that’s how we’ve felt at times. We realize that obstacles are as constant as time. And we continue to relentlessly and boldly confront them. But can we? Fit a circle into a square?

We’ve been busy trying to bring this project to fruition. Without much funds, and with only our undying determination to create a (former) refugee driven enterprise for other (current) refugees and immigrants. We have a vision for what our Paragon Urban Farm can mean for the Nashville community. And we’re just as excited today about the possibilities as ever.

So…question(s) for you.

Are you in Nashville? Will you be in Nashville on Tuesday May 13th? And will you be having dinner that night?

You can 1. Have dinner on Tuesday Night, and 2. Help a wonderful cause!

We will be presenting at Seed Money Suppers at the Wild Cow in East Nashville at 6PM.

We will talk about our urban farm project, and why we need funding, while competing with other groups. If you attend, you can vote for us, and help us win proceeds from the dinner. It costs $10 per adult, and $5 per child.

We’ve loved every bit of our urban farm. It continues to be a wonderful journey of discovery and growth as we meet more people who love the idea as much as we do, and who selflessly and tirelessly work to help us turn our dream into a reality.

We hope you’ll be there Tuesday, cheering us on. If you can’t be there personally, help us by spreading the word.

In gratitude.