I just want to start by acknowledging that I know I haven't been as active or responsive to all of my emails and other forms of communications as I usually am. I've been trying to still get things done and respond to folks as efficiently as possible, but I am aware I'm not as fully present as I usually am. The injustices faced by People of Color on a daily basis has been taking a toll on my mind, body and soul (on top of still trying to navigate the current pandemic situation). The recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hand of United States police officers, and the murder of Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of United States citizens has been weighing heavy on my mind, as well as the other lives that have been lost due to similar situations in recent years. As a "black" man in America raising a "black" son I find it frightening and at times hopeless to attempt to live a normal life in this country, this country where I was born, and my parents were born, and their parents and generations before them leading back to the times of slavery.
The systematic racism that this country is running on is more apparent than ever, and it breaks my heart to realize there are some that still don't see it or care to acknowledge it. I have attended local protests and seen first hand the way the local authorities have responded to the citizens who they have sworn to protect, I have also seen the way agitators in the crowds have played a part in attempting to tarnish these protests. While at times things seem like they may never get better, I do have a great appreciation for the people who have reached out to me personally to check in, and to those who I have seen speaking out and showing up to battle these injustices in various ways. When I look and see faces of all colors standing together to show the world these injustices won't stand, it inspires me to hold on to hope and keep my faith that maybe things aren't as dark as they may seem. So, I want to say thank you to everybody that is invested in this fight, and I hope that you are down for the long ride, because it's been a long one and there's a lot of work to still be done.
On behalf of myself and the Community Garden Network that I coordinate I wanted to make sure to let it be known where I stand, and let it be known that I'll do everything in my power to fight against these injustices that I myself face as well as many others.
~Isa Whitaker, Community Garden Network Coordinator
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:
Every year, one-third of the world’s total food supply is wasted or lost. And, 97% of this waste is directed to landfills and incinerators that contribute to the production of global warming gases, especially methane. Food waste is a huge problem at every step in the supply chain. To combat this problem, communities should come together and adopt Zero Waste methods. How to go about it? Read on to know.
Set Benchmarks and a Timeline – In every industry, it is important to set timelines and benchmarks to measure accomplishments and success. Similarly, communities must set benchmarks and timelines to achieve Zero Food Waste. In some communities, people have adopted the goal of diverting 90% waste away from incinerators and landfills within 10 to 15 years. Others have set larger goals of achieving Zero Waste by the year 2040 such as the Urban Environmental Accords. However, before setting goals and timelines, you must:
Engage the Entire Community – Achieving zero waste isn’t possible unless every member of the community engages in the project. So, do not leave the responsibility to the waste experts. Here are a few things you must do:
Perform Waste Assessments – A waste audit is important since it allows identifying the types of waste produced in a community. If funding is not available, you can collect data locally or access it from comparable communities. By performing the audits, you will be able to create a baseline based on which recovery opportunities can be identified. Here’s what you can do:
Educate the Community – Educate residents, visitors, and businesses about the Zero Waste strategy. Brainstorm and devise ways to achieve better organization and industrial design. Communities must also conduct workshops in schools, universities, and workplaces on how to practice Zero Waste.
Develop/Expand Zero Food Waste Infrastructures – To achieve Zero Waste, the infrastructure must be in accordance with the strategy. Here’s how Zero Waste infrastructures can be expanded:
Author Bio: Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.
As Covid-19 becomes a reality in our region, Bountiful Cities wants you to know that we will continue to be a resource for the communities most affected by issues of food insecurity. We will continue our work on LONG-TERM food security solutions by SUPPORTING PEOPLE GROWING FOOD and MEDICINE.
What Does That Look Like?
We are not certain what the future holds but we do know that many in our community have the ability to grow food. Growing Food = Food Security. Bountiful Cities Community Garden Network (CGN) has resources. Our SEED LIBRARY and TOOL LIBRARY are available for folks who need those resources. If you need space to grow and would like to get connected to one of the 36 gardens in our network please respond to this email or contact Isa@BountifulCities.org.
Also, the CGN offers free educational workshops on things like Medicinal Herbs and Plant Medicine, and Grant Writing. We are assessing which upcoming workshops can be moved to an online platform, and now is a great time to utilize the Community Garden Network listserv to be able to communicate with all other community growers in Asheville and Buncombe County instantly as needs and opportunities arise. To be added to the listserv, just email Isa with that request. To use the listserv just write firstname.lastname@example.org in the To line of your email.
Our Grass to Greens edible landscaping crew can assist you if you want to start a garden and need consulting (this can be done via phone if necessary).
Our FEAST school gardens will continue growing food and distributing it to the communities we serve.
What Can You Do?
Stay connected with us, grow food, and share food! If you want more specifics on volunteering please respond to this email, or contact email@example.com. Donations can be made here Like our Facebook Page to find out more about our educational resources.
What do you need?
New developments are arising hourly, and everyone's needs are shifting. If there are things that you need in the realm of food security support please do not hesitate to reach out. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
WHEN: Wednesday, February 26th from 1:30-4:30pm
WHERE: United Way Building (50 S French Broad Ave.)
INSTRUCTOR: Nicole Hinebaugh
Come join Bountiful Cities' Director of Programs, Nicole Hinebaugh, to learn about how to incorporate grant writing into your fundraising toolkit. Nicole will offer an in-depth presentation about how to research, prepare for, complete, and submit grant applications that best reflect your program's work and best meet funders' expectations. With 15 years of nonprofit experience Nicole has submitted and received funding from many dozens of grants from a wide variety of local, regional, and national funders. This free workshop will offer tools for beginners, and even intermediate grant writers will learn some helpful tips. This workshop will take place on February, 26th from 1:30-4:30pm at the United Way Building (located at 50 S French Broad Ave.) Refreshments will be provided. If you plan on attending please RSVP, and if you are in need of childcare and/or interpretation please contact Isa Whitaker (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as you can.
CUANDO: Miercoles, 26 de Febrero de las 1:30 - 4:30 pm
DONDE: Edificio United Way (50 S French Broad Ave.)
INSTRUCTOR: Nicole Hinebaugh
Unese con la Directora de Programas de Bountiful Cities, Nicole Hinebaugh, para aprender cómo incorporar la escritura de concesión a sus habilidades de recaudación de fondos. Nicole ofrecerá una presentación en profundidad sobre cómo investigar, prepararse, completar y presentar su solicitud de subvención que refleja mejor el trabajo de su programa y cumplir mejor con las expectativas de los financiadores. Con 15 años de experiencia sin fines de lucro Nicole a presentado y recibido fondos de muchas docenas de subvenciones de una gran variedad de financiadores locales, regionales y nacionales. Este taller gratis ofrecerá útiles para escritores de subvenciones principiantes y intermedios. Este taller será el 26 de Febrero de las 1:30 - 4:30pm en el edificio United Way (localizada en 50 S French Broad Ave). Se ofrecerán refrescos. Si asistira por favor haga RSVP, y si necesitara interpretación y/o cuidado de niños contacte a Isa Whitaker (correo electrónico: email@example.com) lo más pronto posible.
WHEN: Tuesday, December 10th from 5-8pm
WHERE: Stephens Lee Center (30 George Washington Carver Ave, Asheville, NC 28801)
Join us next month for our Annual End of the Year Community Garden Network Dinner Celebration. This year we are planning to have a Stone Soup Harvest Dinner at the Stephens Lee center. We are asking attendees to bring a vegetable produce item to contribute to the Stone Soup dinner, and in addition to the dinner there will be a short mushroom inoculation demonstration. If you plan on attending please RSVP as soon as you can with Isa Whitaker: firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you can come celebrate with us!!
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1705936116206842/
Oakleaf Asheville is hosting a benefit for Bountiful Cities on Sunday November 17th, 3-8pm with cooking, cocktail and centerpiece demonstrations. Delicious hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served and all proceeds will benefit Bountiful Cities! Learn more and get your tickets HERE.