Dear Bountiful Cities Supporter,
Whether it is managing grief, holding on to moments of joy, or some other response, each one of us has our own experience and ways of dealing – perhaps changing daily – with the COVID-19 outbreak. In recent weeks, I have been struck by both the significant human toll and the outpouring of support for one another in our communities. As I reflect on so many responses to the pandemic, I am reassured by the work that Bountiful Cities is doing, and has been doing since its inception.
Today, as always, Bountiful Cities remains committed to partnering with community groups, focusing on dialogue, trust and community needs, to create urban agricultural spaces. We know now, more than ever, how important it is to share agricultural skills and resources to promote social justice and economic viability.*
As Bountiful Cities gets seeds in the ground and harvests cool-weather veggies, we have our eyes set on the coming months, recognizing that long-term food security efforts must be part of a coordinated response. We center racial and economic equity by working with existing partners and communities that invite our collaboration, supporting the community garden network, maintaining local school gardens, and ensuring that gardening tools and supplies are available to community and individual gardeners. At the same time, we continue to co-build capacity of communities for growing food, such as identifying land and providing technical assistance through our advocacy efforts and engaging in residential services through Grass to Greens.
The victory gardens of the past must be reshaped for today’s world, so that we are growing with and for each other, not only now but into the future. We know that people of color and people with lower wealth have once again been the most devastated because of the failings of our political, social, and economic systems. Only when communities act with their own self-determination are our systems and outcomes different, and better for all of us.
As you read Bountiful Cities’ newsletter, I hope you will note the ways that the staff and organization continue to join with each other and our partners to sustain the fundamental shifts necessary to move forward and be healthy. If you can support these efforts now, please donate.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Bountiful Cities. We hope you are well and safe, send you the very best, and hope to see you soon.
Chair, Bountiful Cities Board
Our Food Systems are Changing!
Community and Home Gardens Provided over 40% of produce in the US in the 1940's Victory Garden Era.
Home Grown Gardens Can Feed Us
Are you growing a garden for the first time? Or the first time in years? Mountain Xpress reports a huge surge in garden supply sales in THIS ARTICLE.
That's WONDERFUL! Did you know that in the 1940's home gardeners and community gardens produced over 40% of the produce consumed in the US? We can do that again, and we NEED to do it again. Find out more about Bountiful Cities Community Garden Network in this article from Mountain Xpress.
Our Food System is Changing - let's make it BETTER
LISTEN to this podcast from Reveal on Essential Farm Workers and READ this article from Politico about how Coronavirus is increasing Food Waste for a taste of how the Food System is already changing. We can make it better, more just, and equitable right now.
Bountiful Cities has been supporting low-wealth communities working to achieve LONG TERM FOOD SECURITY through urban agriculture for the last 20 years. We need your help TODAY to sustain EVERYONE in our community in this time of change!
Please donate today to help us GROW Food Security
Now is the time to PLANT!!
It's springtime and the perfect time to get seeds in the ground.
Take this SURVEY! Tell us what you want to know about growing a garden. Tell us what you have learned and what you need to learn!
We are developing and compiling on-line Virtual Workshops and FB LIVE Question and Answer sessions to help new and seasoned gardeners GROW AS MUCH FOOD AS POSSIBLE!
Check out this VIDEO in our Virtual Workshop collection on how to start a weed-free raised bed.
Or this VIDEO on starting a container garden with companion plants.
For more growing expertise check out these awesome local resources:
Sow True Seed - Local Source for Open Pollinated Seeds
Living Web Farms Videos - Hands on Gardening Demos and Workshops
Organic Growers School - Gardeners Library
Buncombe County Master Gardener Helpline - Helpline to Answer Gardening Questions
Can you grow a little extra for those who are houseless or those who don't have a yard or resources to grow? If you can, plant some extra! Bountiful Cities can help get extra produce to where it is needed most!
Thank you to our generous sponsors and donors!!
Don't have extra veggies yet, but do have extra compost?
If you have a Compost Now account and want to share your compost with a Bountiful Cities garden we are one of their garden partners!
Click HERE to share your compost with us!
Are you interested in volunteering in a Bountiful Cities garden? We are having small garden workdays with one or two volunteers at a time so we can maintain social distancing. Please fill out this FORM so we can learn more about you!
Hey all! March was quite a month wasn't it?!? So, with the current state of things this newsletter will be a little different than previous ones. I want to start by seeing what changes may be happening/have happened with the local community gardens (this can be a change in hours, gardens closing, resources available to local community members (such as produce, garden space for growing, etc.)) This is the time when we need each other the most, and I plan on keeping things updated with my monthly newsletters, garden support as needed (with the possibility of holding smaller workdays), and we're even discussing the possibility of hosting online workshops.
Please reach out to me at your earliest convenience with any updates, and feel free to leave any additional feedback, ask any additional questions, and let us know if there's any support you're in need of!
Also, I’ll be sharing as many resources as I can, but I’m sure I’ll miss some. So, if there’s any you’re aware of please don’t hesitate to share them with me or feel free to post them directly to the Community Garden Network listserv.
Thank you! ~Isa
Community Garden Network Events
As I mentioned above we are in the process of converting our educational workshop series to an online platform.
Check out what we’ve started to compile, and stay tuned for more updates.
Vance Elementary Peace Garden Update
“Dear friends of the Vance Peace Garden and FEAST,
I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and are staying well during this crazy time. With all of the sudden and unfolding changes with the Coronavirus, Bountiful Cities/ FEAST staff have been discussing how our work in the Vance Peace Garden and other community and school gardens can move forward and support our communities.
As long as schools are closed, all FEAST educational programming, Weed & Feed workdays, and garden events are also canceled (possible alternative plant sale tbd).
This season I will be focusing attention on growing food in the Peace Garden to share with the community and to ensure there is food in the fall for students to harvest and for FEAST programming. As my time is limited, there is much that I need help with in the garden that volunteers can do independently- right now, I need help tuning up the weed eater and lawn mower, pruning and deadheading perennials, and cutting back overgrown cover crops. As I get more organized, I will have more tasks that I can delegate out that don't all require gardening knowledge.
Though much of our lives have been canceled, gardening is not! It is more important now than ever to grow food! In the broader community, Bountiful Cities is connecting with local food security relief efforts, putting together resources for folks needing food or wanting to grow at home, and supporting community gardens.
Please reach out if you would like to lend a hand in the Vance Peace Garden or if you seek any resources for growing or accessing produce.
We are all taking this day by day, and even amidst uncertainty, I remain wholeheartedly committed to the Vance Peace Garden and the Vance community.
Wishing all of you wellness and health,” -
Jordan Diamond, FEAST Program & Garden Coordinator - Vance Elementary School
Other Community Resources/Events
The NC State Extension has put together a guide which describes “a community garden, its benefits, how to find or start a garden and tips for growing, storing, preparing and enjoying fruits and vegetables. In addition it highlights state and national gardening resources.”
Organic Growers School has put up a resource list for gardeners and farmers regarding COVID-19.
They are updating this list regularly.
Have gardening questions? Send them to YummyYards!
Check out the Asheville Online Farmers' Market if you haven’t already
Ask a Sista Farmer
“Are you ready to grow your own food and medicine for self-reliance and community resilience? Every Friday, experienced Black womxn* farmers answer your call-in questions about gardening, livestock, agroforestry, plant medicine, and food preservation.
This show centers the voices of Black, Indigenous, People-of-Color, Queer, Trans*, Disabled, Immigrant, and Poor communities. Everyone is welcome to watch and listen, but please make space for centered folks to speak. Thank you.
*Sista and womxn includes trans* and nonbinary folks”
For more info, and to see the full line up and schedule: