Monday, August 04, 2008

justice gardens update

i havnt blogged about the progress of the justice garden idea in a while not for lack of passion or interest but rather i've just been feeling overscheduled and a bit discouraged at the slow pace of getting a non-profit organization up and running. see, im looking at the future not through the lens of "how do i get there?" just GET ME THERE NOW. that is how i operate. im passionate and impatient and this can be a good thing. in reality this idea has only been brewing for what, 6 months? so when i really think about it it is ridiculous to become discouraged at the seemingly slow progress.

so my friend jared boyd and i seem to be spending a good portion of our time, if not simply in our heads, brainstorming and scheming ways to not just get this off the ground but also to work in a practical, functional, Jesus glorifying way. i tend to be the grassroots leader, organizing meetings, lining up speakers, printing up flyers, etc. and he is the one doing the business infrastructure end of things seeking out grant money, writing up documents, researching similar programs, people we can get some face time with in the community. it's actually been amazingly gratifying to work in two separate but equally passionate and exciting ways towards the same goal now that i think about it. jared blesses me, that's what i guess i'm saying.

justice gardens is becoming more multifaceted which is exciting too. our minds keep coming up with new ideas and methods of food distribution, ways to get people involved, etc. there are so many resources to draw from out there! a lot of my inspirations are coming from food not bombs type organizations but even things like WIC here in ohio has programs for food distribution to take ideas from. we found out that wetstone park (a large metropark here in clintonville for those unfamiliar with columbus) during WWII was the home to 500 victory gardens! that is extremely exciting. right now i am trying to find a space, in a community with very very limited surplus space (or seemingly limited depending on your perspective), to plant a real live community garden that would be truly for the justice gardens. 100% of the production would go to feed the least, last, and lost here in our community. last night david and i drove past a little strip of land for sale, we do this about once a week or so. a girl can dream and dream i do!

so besides the mental progress going on, not much external has been going on. as i mentioned (whined?) no one came to the last meeting which was pretty depressing because well, i feel really excited and my energy i have for this project is boundless it seems. but i've prayed it through and i can only be responsible for my actions and so who cares! it was just one meeting! last week i put out the word that we were seeking food not just for donation (as we do every sunday) but for a specific topic. a meal prepared by the lovely meridith scherer for rebecca's place, which is a home for women transitioning out of homelessness. i was really apprehensive going to church i've got to be honest. i was setting myself up for disappointment but people were faithful and did not disappoint. several pounds of beans, a cantaloupe, peppers, zucchini, apples, sweet corn, tomatoes (and some seeds) were donated! praise Jesus these people are going to be fed healthy food!

so i mentioned it being multifaceted and ill expand on that a little here. first my mind was putting an emphasis solely on people donating produce from their gardens to the hungry and poor in our city. nothing wrong with that but i think the idea is too limited because not everyone gardens and the gardening season isn't year round. so we are now branching out to a general idea of using the food in our community BETTER and in a more functional way. a lot of these ideas are being gleaned from the victory garden initiative of WWII. like, how can we maximize the food we already have here locally to meet the needs of everyone? how can we eliminate or seriously cut down on the normal, healthy food being wasted locally? examples - great harvest bread tosses their bread when it passes it's expiration date, local farmers have end of the season beans that need picked that are probably cosmetically imperfect but surely edible, urban fruit trees that no one harvests, etc.) as soon as grant money magically makes it's way into our hands we can mobilize folks to remedy the above mentioned and give it to people who are otherwise without food (or at least healthy food).

so im praying that i can be patient and pray over every little effort instead of focusing on what we want the larger picture to look like and compare that to what it isn't right now. i need to focus on the 3-5 year plan not the 3-5 month Jenny plan


Anonymous said...

I know of a similar (although not exactly the same thing) garden in my area. It works this way... every family involves pays a certain amount of money for their "share" of the garden then you work a designated amount of time each week in the garden and the produce is split in half. Half goes to feed the hungry and half is split between the families who paid in and work the land. This way many people are involved with the work, expenses are paid, and both families and those in need get delicious, organic produce many months out of the year. Just and idea, erin

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about putting a link on here or your youtube where people could donate, either money or seeds/supplies. I know you must get a lot of readers and maybe it would help jump start some things for you?

jenny mae. said...

erin - that garden co-op sounds awesome! right now we have a tiny rental with no space we are allowed to have an expansive garden in. so our best friends have a large yard that we all share a garden together in. they host the space and i do most of the "work" (it isn't even work to me! i love it!) and we split the produce. a portion of our half we give away to the justice gardens initiative. the whole things stretches us all, esp me i feel, in many ways. as martha stewart would say "it's a good thing" :)

and to the anonymous commenter - i have not considered that until now. personally i, and im sure any donor, would feel more comfortable if any and all funds were being directed to a place other than my personal paypal account, know what i mean? i wouldnt want there to be any confusion or anything about how the funds were being used, etc. so once we get the right infrastructure in place, this sounds like a great idea. ill pitch it to jared. seeds and plants would be no problem at all though!