A Road less traveled “Seeding the neighborhood economics”
2019 is exciting! Thanks to the consistent support from FoodWell Alliance, HWG will be focusing even more strongly on innovation and change at the neighborhoods level. Why this focus on the hyper-local? Because neighborhood are where all of us feel the real impact of market driven changes, where the community rebuild has to really occur. Our goals are going beyond planting urban home food gardens, at which we have been very successful for the past 10 years. The HWG vision is radically different in the field of urban agriculture in Atlanta because we decided to also address the root causes of health inequities -- the relationships of race, class, and disinvestment and th marginalization of communities of color. “People of color tend to suffer from diet-related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity, and to live in “food apartheid” neighborhoods—high-poverty areas flooded with fast food and corner stores, but lacking healthy food options. While some writers refer to these areas as “food deserts,” I prefer the term “food apartheid” because this is a human-created system of segregation, not a natural ecosystem”. (Leah Penniman in “Farming while Black” https://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/4-not-so-easy-ways-to-dismantle-racism-in-the-food-system-20170427). Keep the piece about job training
Our goal at HWG is to do our part in helping create a framework for the local economy. Let’s call it –“neighborhood economics”.
A lot of job training programs in the Westside gave many residents the ability to earn good income. Yet, these jobs are spread all over Metro Atlanta and people spend their money there. Residents tell us that they want nearby stores that provide quality goods and services, where they can spend their dollars with dignity. But there are not in community. Yet, dollars continue to leak outside of the community. We want to contribute to stop the leakage. Encourage the development and strengthening of neighborhood grown businesses where residents will spend their hard earned money – bakeries, cafes, clothing stores, etc. We have already contributed to this process by incubating the neighborhood-driven Westside Growers Market. And more innovation is coming.
I am eager to lead our team of Garden Angels to implement Healthy Wealth Grown Local (HWGLocal).
Building on the success of the Westside Growers Market and our network of almost 200 gardeners HWG will pilot Healthy Wealth Grown Local (HWGLocal) to create revenue opportunities for a select group of our growers while developing community awareness to leverage the low hanging fruit of food gardening to an economic engine.
The program on a nutshell has two prongs:
Together, we can disrupt the paradigm of patienthood, hands-out and economic passivity which was stamped on our neighborhoods. Together we can plant the seeds of resilience, power and a community rooted equitable development!
[i] The Institute for Local Self Reliance https://bealocalist.org/field-guide-future-health-local/ and The Presencing institute at M.I.T https://www.presencing.org/