Posts Tagged ‘urban garden’

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!

 

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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.

 

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.

Is it still considered a farm if the floor is made of hardwood?

Beautiful rooftop garden.

The Dream: Our Urban Farm Initiative

When we first embarked on our Urban Farm journey, we had no idea what kind of adventure it would be. We were full of ideas, and imbued with passion. A year later, we have met countless amazing people, have access to five acres of land from the Metro Nashville Government, and are slowly cultivating a community around our farm. We are in our first year, and we have a long way to go. We’ve learned innumerable lessons, and are still learning a lot about urban agriculture.

We are sisters. We survived the Rwandan Genocide together, and are working on this massive project together. We moved to the United States, and settled in Nashville together as young kids. Our first home was in an urban neighborhood, in one of Nashville’s food deserts. Our settlement in Nashville brought our many firsts. Coming from tropical weather, we experienced our first snow in Nashville, had our first apple pie in Nashville, built our first gingerbread houses in Nashville, and made our first tie-dye shirts in Nashville. We were truly blessed to have Nashville as our new home.

Through the years, with our small non-profit, FASHA, we have helped refugees and immigrants living in Nashville in various capacities. We have fund raised and provided aid and resources to victims of international disasters around the world, including the earthquake in Haiti, and the recent drought in Somalia, the Horn of Africa. After going to separate colleges out of state, we have resettled back to Nashville.

We have since sought ways to expand our reach within the international community in Nashville, while connecting with the local Nashville community.  Inspired by our friends and trusted advisers, we set out to found an ambitious and idealistic plan. We discussed issues of food security, the lack of access to fresh produce in urban setting, and the impeding global food shortage in 50 years. Equipped with a desire to give back, the idea for our urban farm was born.

We want to create a farm that provides healthy, locally grown, organic food, while providing space for outdoor activities for the community. We seek to employ urban farming methods including hydroponics growing towers among others. Through the venture, we plan to bring together Nashville’s diverse local and international communities in a productive and community building manner. Essentially, we intend to grow a garden and grow community.

Our dream is to cultivate and mentor a community of entrepreneurs in urban agriculture. We will provide classes and workshops to the farmers and the greater community. Our focus ranges from food, nutrition, food preparation, and food health in general. We envision providing training on business planning, management, and marketing. We are striving to give more to our urban farm participants. We want them to not only have access to fresh and locally grown produce, but to gain skills, and potentially use those skills to expand and earn a little extra income from their own urban farming ventures.

We have made some progress towards our dream. Through the Metro Nashville Mayor’s Office, and Metro Water, we acquired land to pursue our urban farm. The property is located in the Paragon Mills area, a neglected yet abundantly diverse neighborhood in South Nashville. The land is in a flood zone, and sits unoccupied. In 2008, Mayor Karl Dean set a goal of making Nashville “the greenest city in the Southeast”. And in recent years, his office embarked on a quest to finding productive use of the flood properties. Our urban farm happens to be one of the first few pilot projects used as a trial for farming and gardening projects on these flood-recovered properties. While the flood devastated Nashville communities, our plan is to use such flooded land to bring people together.

We are still a long way from our cherished dream. So far, we are building a diverse community around the project. We have met a lot of amazing people in Nashville’s Urban Agriculture, and extremely supportive community members. Our journey continues as we work on getting the farm off the ground. We continue to encounter plenty of obstacles but remain optimistic. We invite you to remain with us on this thrilling adventure.