This past Monday we officially presented our Venture Project Proposal to the church for feedback and I was so encouraged by this meeting and conversation. It is very easy for all of us to get excited about an idea and run with it, but practicality can sometimes be a struggle for us, for me especially. So, having the ability to present our proposal to people who are very practical and have much more experience with the community of Todd and with Blackburn’s Chapel was a huge help. It turns out our proposal is pretty practical, albeit a huge undertaking. We are not unaware of the loftiness of our goals, but the need in our community is great and we hope that our small garden and our contributions can lessen the need, if only slightly. So, here’s our proposal:
According to Feeding America’s website, 17.2% of Ashe County is distinguished as “food insecure,” which is defined as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” Out of this percentage, 83% are below the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 200% poverty threshold. In 2010, Ashe County was in need of $1,975,860 in order to meet the area’s food needs. In a county rich with land resources as well as people who know how to grow and raise food, it is obvious that there is a disconnect somewhere. This disconnect lies in the inability to connect the people who are in need of food to the people who can help provide it for them and perhaps share with them the knowledge of how to grow food for themselves. Hopefully, this is where we can help. We don’t have an absolute view of the outcome, we don’t have an ultimate solution, we don’t have the answer of how to reach every single Ashe County resident in need of food, but we do have a garden. And that’s a start.
- Relationships with
- community members
- local schools
- Storage space
- Grant money
- Gardening tools
We want to use our garden and our space well to support the community as well as bring the community together. We will meet the needs in the community by using our assets to:
- Build a pay what you can produce stand in Blackburn’s Chapel church parking lot close to house
- Host pay what you can farming and gardening classes once a month in the hopes of reaching the communities that we support with our food so that they can learn to grow and preserve food as well.
- Invest in our community garden so that a portion of produce can be given to local elementary schools.
Lyn Soeder, a farmer in Todd, has agreed to mentor this project and help us plan the garden and work out the logistics. We are currently working on the more basic steps to get this project up and running and we’ll have an update for you soon!