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Who would imagine how important a community garden of free food could be…I am so grateful that I was moved to start Urban Farming. As I have mentioned in a prior blog, this “calling” changed my life for the best. I have learned so much about our world and how we are all so intricately connected. Below, I will share an excerpt from my book, From The Root:
On this particular day, in the very beginning, we stood at the first official Urban Farming Community Garden on the corner of Collingwood and Cascade on the west side of Detroit. This was the same garden that would be featured on the Montel Williams Show only weeks after this encounter. A young woman approached me and told me how happy she was to be able to pick free food. Her voice was saddled with burden, and her face was visibly battled. Her story unfolded as we talked. She told me that she was desperately trying to transition out of homelessness. Our free garden gave her the ability to eat any time, day or night.
She shared how soothing this was for her, as she pulled me aside and spoke in a soft undertone, offering more of her story. Many times she had been so hungry she’d had to beg for food. Tears welled up in her eyes as she told me that she had recently asked a man to help her buy some food. He demanded that she perform a sexual act in exchange. She felt dirty and worthless, with an increased broken trust in men. That man saw a woman in need and instead of protecting her and helping her, he took advantage of her. Clearly he was also a broken spirit, and likely from similarly rooted circumstances. The young woman broke down and cried, letting me know that the garden was a place where she could go to eat without compromising her dignity. That was why it was of such special importance to her that our gardens provided free food and free access 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. I was moved and shaken.
–Page 44 and 45 of From The Root, A Memoir and A Roadmap for Balance in Our World.