Reaching the community in the ways that we can
This past week we held our seedling giveaway. We normally grow all of our own vegetable plants for our gardens in our greenhouse and have a small seedlings sale in the spring. Once the pandemic hit, we realized that with jobs being lost and the danger of interrupted supply chains that there would likely be an increased demand for people to grow some of their own food. We started doubling and tripling our normal amounts of seeds started. It was a good thing we did, as the response to our seedlings distribution this year was double that of last season and we sold out of most of our increased offerings…. we should have quadrupled our plantings! There were a lot of first time as well as seasoned gardeners who participated and everyone went away happy with their trays of little plants.
Since our original plans to engage the community with our environmental advocacy have had to be temporarily scrapped due to COVID – 19, we used our plant distribution as an opportunity to do some outreach. We printed up flyers in English and Spanish and distributed them along with the plant trays – reaching over 40 Camden residents. The flyer briefly explained some of the air quality concerns we are focusing on, directed them to our website for more information, and requested resident feedback by asking for comments and questions about the concerns we outlined. We are hopeful that some will reach out by phone and email so that we can start to get a sense of how our areas of concern are lining up with residents in the area, and also gain a sense of areas that would benefit from a broader education effort.
We also had more than a dozen people sign up for plots in our new community garden. We are excited to help contribute to food sovereignty in our neighborhood and will be contributing seeds and seedlings to our new garden members to get them started. We plan for this to become another interaction point with residents where we can post information about our environmental advocacy, and safely engage with a few residents at a time in an outdoor location to continue the conversation about air quality in our neighborhood.
Environmental advocacy during this time will be a challenge, but will continue to think creatively of ways to reach our neighbors in order to move our work forward with the goal of improving air quality in this environmental justice community. At the same time, we are happy to support residents growing nutritious food in their gardens!
About the Grantee
The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) manages three gardens in Camden. CFET has an innovative youth program that uses urban agriculture to develop young minds and teaches healthy eating. We host service learning retreats focused on the environment and food justice and have recently began focusing on community organizing around environmental justice issues in our neighborhood.