Ginter Urban Gardener Summer Class of 20182018-08-16T19:57:50+00:00

Ginter Urban Gardener Summer Class of 2018

Briana Stevenson
I believe that the lack of knowledge and healthy generational cycles are the most pressing challenges in my community. Our traditional unhealthy cycles of where we get our food, how we treat each other, and how we treat our community are the reasons it is so hard to make a shift in thinking. These self-destructive and community-destructive behaviors are ultimately learned behaviors coupled with the lack of desire to want to do better. African American individuals, resulting from enslavement, have no concept of generational wealth. Coincidentally, people also think that this term is limited to or centered on money. This is not the case. I believe that systematically the example has been for low-income individuals to consume “cheap food”. I think this also results from the ignorance in not knowing just how bad eating this type of food can be and how easy it is to produce real food. I believe that creating new healthy examples and patterns in the community can permeate through generations.
Alice Phillips
I don't know if this is THE most pressing challenge in my community, but in general, I think people have lost their everyday connections with the regular cycles of nature, with where food comes from, with what the components of a healthy lifestyle are. The lack of these connections leads them to make unhealthy choices, to fail to appreciate the power of nature, and to fill themselves with processed food. If you have ever watched a child pull a carrot out of the ground with complete disbelief on their face, or seen a teenage boy who "doesn't like vegetables" try arugula because he grew it himself, then you understand that disconnect. I want to help people reconnect. I also very much want to help beautify our community and create opportunities for health and wellness in the parts of our city that are underserved.
Allison Hurst
One of our biggest challenges in Church Hill is related to the disjunct and divided groups interspersed throughout the neighborhood. I've talked with people who have deep ambition and drive to do what I'm searching to do, but either give up or disregard their desires because they don't believe that anyone cares to hear what the have to say.
David Phinney
I believe we live in a county whose very foundation was racialized genocide and slavery, and in an economic system that was created through stolen land and labor. In 2018 we still have not done the restorative work it would take create a healthy community. Poverty, lack of access to food and healthcare, the inability to find work, are all part of a legacy and I think one of the big challenges we have is finding ways of getting folks engaged in the process of finding our way to a wholistically healthy community.
Hannah Updike
above, I think many of the challenges in our community are intertwined, so I don't know that I could choose one as the most pressing challenge. Of course, access to equitable education opportunities is an extremely present and, obviously, vitally important challenge facing Richmond City. However, I do think it is imperative to recognize that ensuring that children (and adults) have access to healthy food, high-quality health care, safe and affordable housing, access to transportation, etc. is integral to a person's ability to succeed in school (and beyond).
Julz Suder

During my after-school garden club I invited their families to come harvest with us and had regular attendance by some parents. Since first starting to work with my students outside I have become very passionate about creating more opportunities for children and families to have access to fresh food and learn how to make healthy choices. I've partnered with Fit4Kids and Backyard Farmer to bring more opportunities to my students at Laburnum and Ruby Carver Elementary. There are many schools in the area with gardens, but having run two now I know the challenges that it takes to get students and families to be able to access them during the busy school day. I'd love to find a way to make these kind of opportunities more available to school community members and less daunting to teachers who may not have been born with a "green thumb".

Melissa Phillip Greene
Food deserts in certain areas in Richmond are one of the most pressing challenges in the community. One of the tasks for our garden team at St. Philip's is to use our garden area to support or food pantry by providing fresh fruits and vegetables to those most in need in our community. I would love to teach others in the community how to set up their own gardens to assist in providing food for their families which benefits their health and overall well being.
Rodney Gaines
The most pressing issues in our community are keeping our neighborborhood clean and safe. We also problems with crime and jobs opportunities.
Traci Bhagat
Our communities greatest challenge is the lack of love and respect for the surrounding areas. When i was growing up in Philadelphia a lot of neighborhoods had gardens that everyone took care of. Kids and adults had a peaceful place to go to that they helped create and maintain. It didn’t take a lot of money to get it up and running. The neighbors bought their seeds together, soil and other materials. Today younsee gardens popping up that organizations have started but not the community. My husband and i have hopes of starting a garden across the street from our home. Right now trash is dumped there and a few people fish. There is so much potential there but no one wants to work together to beautify it. I think with more knowledge and resources, our communities can come together and create a safe place for our children to play, explore and learn.
Renee Horen
Unequal food access is one the most pressing challenges in our community. Whether it's sugary school breakfasts or living in a food desert, too many community members don't have reliable access to fresh, healthy foods. I think it's a national problem that extends to a reliance on processed food and the inhumane treatment of animals raised for consumption. But I think we have an opportunity to do something about it on a local level. Food access ties into so many issues other than just hunger, including health and wellbeing, rising healthcare costs, economic stability and overall happiness. Richmond has an abundance of grocery stores and farmers markets, but we have to do more as a community to make sure that everyone has access to fresh foods.
Will Wilson
I think the most pressing challenge for areas like Jackson Ward & downtown Richmond will be housing in the coming years as neighborhoods around downtown continue to get built out & rents rise. I hope that this will not squeeze out ventures that require some flexible use space- including urban gardens among others.
Shanteny Jackson

I think it is important to learn about the power of growing plants and/or fruits. Understanding the logistics of sowing and reaping from earth is a great skill to live by. I've heard and read about teachable stories that change the values of many individuals just by practicing basic principles of patience and observation.One of the most pressing challenges is to get the community engaged with a project. There is a lot of competition and lack of trust.

Nicole Long

Water and air quality are huge basic problems in Richmond. On top of that is a disconnect on how to support ourselves with fresh food. This starts in production and goes through preservation and cooking. I have worked on vegetable and horse farms in the past, including an internship on an organic/permaculture farm in France. I have spent many years growing food with my mother and in my own garden for personal use. I also have done research and outreach growing and planting native river grasses for the James shoreline stability efforts.

Victoria Lynn

Pretty much the funding & education piece of things are two of the most pressing issues in our community. Changing the way funds are allocated into these neighborhoods, empowering people within these neighborhoods in order to give back to the neighborhood is worth a shot vs having other swoop in & save the day. We can help ourselves, a lot of us are talented & brilliant without the "help". People don't love change & people have been living a certain way for their entire lives.  There seems to be a shift among us, in my opinion, where people are looking towards more natural methods of healing/helping themselves, but not everybody is on board. I think reaching those that have their minds made up already could pose a challenge but with the support of those who see this vision, that will hopefully be of influence to those wanting to push these ideas away.

Qimmah Davis

My name is Qimmah Davis and I first moved to Richmond August 2004 to attend nursing school. Since then I have had two beautiful daughters and been an active LPN. I have relocated twice out of the city and have been back for two years. I am looking forward to the experience and knowledge that will be gained while working with other people in my community. Last spring I began my tire garden; growing tomatoes, lavender , peppermint, green peppers and jalapeno peppers.

Renee Robinson

I am a lifelong resident of the Barton Heights neighborhood. My family has lived on the Northside since the 1970's. I have seen the area decline and now as it is resurging, I believe that we must do a better job in improving and reestablishing our green spaces. There are certain neighborhoods in the area that are food deserts, and urban gardening is a means to provide healthy vegetables to neighborhood residents who have challenges in accessing local grocery stores.  I have experience in raised bed and container gardening, and I would love to share what I have learned to inspire and teach others to care about building sustainable green spaces that feed communities. Finally, I am also an experienced grant writer, who has submitted numerous grant applications, one of which pertained to teaching urban gardening to children.

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