A few weeks ago I found my Spring 2011 edition of The Herb Quarterly waiting ever so patiently for me in my mailbox. I was so excited! I sat down and began to thumb through the pages to get a general overview of the exciting things I was about to learn and as I turned to the last page and began to read, an overwhelming sense of urgency came across me. You see, this article was not just your everyday Garden "How-to", it was a beautiful piece on a non-profit organization by the name of Hope Outreach and I would love to share with you the important information I took from this.
Hope Outreach is a nondenominational nonprofit in Oklahoma who is dedicated to helping disadvantaged people become self-sufficient. Five years ago they opened a day care center for the homeless population of Enid, OK. But providing housing and food for these people just wasn't enough for them so they turned a city block into an herb, vegetable, small fruit, and flower garden called Faith Farm, and encouraged the homeless to work in the garden as they also wanted to empower these individuals emotionally and psychologically. Faith Farm director Kate Morrison says their mission is to teach skills and repair self-esteem through teamwork and social interaction. She is quoted as saying, "So much of building self-esteem is cause and effect, and a garden provides a way to show that. If you water and care for something, you will have a harvest. For people who haven't had a lot of positive reinforcement in their lives, a garden shows them that they can have success."
I finished reading the article and I thought to myself, “WOW! What a positive and creative way to help those less fortunate and to not only help them, but to help the community”. That is why I am so passionate about being a part of Urban Seeds. We have such a drive for educating Evansville on the positive impact of teaching sustainable living, organic gardening, recycling and healthy eating. We have chosen to focus our efforts on the city’s school age children as we believe that setting a good foundation in their sense of health and well-being, their environment and their overall self confidence will not only build a healthier, more informed adult but cultivate a healthier community.
We are embarking on an incredible journey and would love for you to come along for the ride! Urban Seeds has been awarded a grant by the Welborn Baptist Foundation and our goal is to increase access, awareness and utilization of locally grown and prepared food options by providing routine educational opportunities to youth and their families related to container, urban, and community gardening, fruit tree and bush care and cooking classes, implement a Garden to School pilot in collaboration with two area schools through their cafeteria and curriculum/extracurricular programming, initiate Farm to School discussions between local growers and area schools and serve as a technical advisor to the development and sustainability of the Glenwood Farmers Market project.
If you would like to find out more information about our project and how you can get involved, please visit our website at www.urbanseeds.org.
Peas and Love,