Update for the #EATING
It has been a while since we wrote and we wanted to let you know what is going on with our garden. We have been working to get grants and network with other people in our community. One of the big things we did in the fall was take a grant class. It was a series of classes including topics like community building, outreach and networking, of course a lot on paperwork, and comprehensive lessons about the underlying issues that face communities like mine. We also talked about how to address issues that come with race and cultural differences as well as poverty and violence. For example, there was a women in our community who had a large tree in her yard and there was an issue with strangers coming to find shade and hang out. Usually when people gather in our town they are up to no good. So she saw that people had a need for trees and shade from the sun and thats why they were there. Instead of arresting people for trespassing, the community came together to get grants to plant trees. These are the ways in which we can heal our communities.
As far as building our economic ties goes, we have been reaching out to our local food markets and other community's in Miami to build a network. We are working out what to grow that is constantly in demand and can get a good price. I ate some tomatoes from the garden last time I went home and they were pretty good, so I think they will sell well when we get to that point.
Also, we are working to incorporate the Juvenile Justice system to get kids working in the garden instead of serving time in jail. Jail doesn't teach anyone anything and make people worse because they are around bad influences. Our team has been working hard to provide a comprehensive program and get old people and young people involved. It is a lot of work with a lot of obstacles with paperwork and ordinances, etc. I know it's been worth every smile on the kids face to see change in in the communities with the youth and adults working together.
All in all we couldn't do it with out help from you. The support we have received and continue to get is very inspiring. We are building bridges to get started in Michigan too. Hopefully, it will be easier after all we learned and went through to get everything here going in Florida. It gives you hope when you can see the progress and see people working together to make things better. That never happened before where I am from very much. Even though people don't usually meet up and work together, they are learning that they are the same and have a lot in common. People stop and take photos of the garden and even in West Palm Beach people are talking about what we are doing. They used to say we were useless and we are happy to be proving them wrong. We are moving slowly but surely and its hard work and it will pay off.
Our partner in Miami is also a Michigan Alum. His name is Roger Horne and he is planning and helping us connect the dots. We are meeting a lot of people who want to help us. When Roger comes up from Miami, we all meet in Pahokee at the #EATING community garden and come up with a game plan. Sometimes we have groups from town and sometimes its just us working. We are using #Eating to continue to meet alumni and work and improve our communities and are working to inspire mainly the kids. Our goal is to reach one and teach one.
THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT
VINCENT SMITH AND MARTAVIOUS ODOMS AND RHC