We had our own version of a “journey to Oz” tornado come through recently. One moment, you’re talking to various local folks and your little dog, too…when, Bam! You’re swept away and on an odyssey to find what you had all along. Within the span of about a month, you’re asked to talk about food security in a way you hadn’t considered before. You’re asked to discuss community participation in the production and distribution of food. You’re asked to research how opportunities for in-person, idea-exchange encourages and increases productivity. You’ve got a crew of folks who aren’t just the unacquainted supporters you believed them to be, but who actually know each other through the mutualities of their various occupations and social circles. You’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. And, suddenly something clicks. It becomes very clear that all the work that has been going on to establish the Original Green Community Food Plan, was becoming something even better than what you thought it was.
We’ve built raised beds. We’ve encouraged residents to grow their own food and have seen the benefits of doing so. We’ve shared nutrition information. We’ve talked about developing a Community Supported Kitchen. We’ve provided information and resources about starting agricultural-based businesses. So, what could be better than all that?
How about an urban farm with a co-working space for low-income residents interested in agricultural and food-related businesses?
There are some residents in the community who want to do more than just grow and eat their way to improvement. They want to find ways to support themselves with the lifestyle change. They’re looking for ways to translate green and sustainability efforts into a vocation. From landscape businesses focused on native plants, to mobile fresh food enterprises, to specialty pies preparation. Some want to have access to an urban farm and expertise on food production. Others just want to be able to pick up fresh produce when they want it. While still others want a place to gather and learn about all the possibilities related to having access to fresh food.
Of course, we’re very excited about this! We can expand upon our goals for sharing food and increasing access. For us, it is an opportunity to establish both a CSK and CSA and provide farming plots that can be purchased using SNAP. It’s the chance to host community events like educational talks, cooking demonstrations and farm camps.
So, we’ve identified a few commercial flex spaces and are tapping our crew of folks for their expertise. We’ve found a way to do it all while implementing the Community Food Plan. In fact…it looks like the Community Food Plan has had this inside it all along.