Resilience Roots Coming Into Spring (March 2021 Update)
Last season, we ended Autumn with many accomplishments and achievements, one of them being that we worked to build connections with the neighbors in our community. From September 2020 to November 2020, we were able to harvest vegetables from our farm and create mutual aid bags for our neighbors. The vegetables in these bags included okra, green beans, eggplant, Thai basil, mint, peppers, and tomatoes. Through the gifting of mutual aid bags to our neighbors, we were able to strengthen our communities ties, while also being able to provide fresh produce to those who are in need and find it difficult affording vegetables at the grocery store as well.
After the Fall season ended and we began to lay the farm to rest for the Winter season, we conducted surveys with the neighbors that received our mutual aid bags. These surveys were to ensure that we are able to meet the needs of our community when distributing produce, and to grow vegetables that they would like to see in their future mutual aids. As we prepared for the upcoming Spring and Summer seasons, we planned to grow some plants we grow every year such as mint, tomatoes, and basil. From the suggestions of our neighbors, we also planned to change some of our crop inventory and grow new vegetables like potatoes, lettuce, and carrots. This year we do not only want to grow produce for the community but also aid community members in their own garden endeavors too. Our Food Access team will be selling plant starters and seeds to the Camden community, and to ensure that our sales are accessible and affordable as possible, we plan to accept EBT/SNAP as a way for payment for those that may not be able to compensate with cash or credit.
One of our community goals has always been to work together with our neighbors to strengthen our connections, so we have four farm plots for some of our multicultural growers. As more community members work together with us hand in hand at the farm, we plan to learn from their farm skills and techniques as they may also learn from us, while sharing supplies and reinforcing our ties for generational farm knowledge and food sovereignty. As we plan to be more involved with the neighbors around the farm, we hope to converse more with them and hold monthly community farm meetings, so that they are updated about the changes that are happening in our farm, and have say about any issues or adjustments they would like in our land too. While understanding that the work we do is rooted in our goals to battle food insecurity and expand green spaces for our urban areas to innovate community shared spaces. In April we plan to invite volunteers to help tend the farm every Saturday while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, and will hire some high school youth as farm assistants to hopefully increase their knowledge in farm skills that they can pass onto others and use for the rest of their lives. Though the pandemic has halted many of our traditional operations this past year, we still strive to move forward in the face of adversity and remain resilient during these trying times.
About the Grantee
VietLead is a grassroots organization that strives to improve health, increase sovereignty, and develop Vietnamese leadership in solidarity through intergenerational farming; youth leadership; health navigation; policy advocacy; and civic engagement. Our Food Sovereignty and community garden program was built from seeing how food is an important part of how refugees practice self-determination.