May 10th, 2010

We are pleased to report back on some changes happening in Montgomery since we hosted our Hunger Workshop there in mid-March. We invited Edwin Marty, executive director of Jones Valley Urban Farm, to speak with church groups in the area about community gardening, the food system, and hunger justice. Now, as a direct result of meetings Edwin had that day with Montgomery city officials, the mayor signed on to promote an extensive urban farm project in West Montgomery. Dubbed “Full of Life Urban Farm,” it kicked off last month with a small pilot garden on Emerson Street costing only $1,200. Eventually, city officials report they would like to expand urban farming to other areas of the city.

“This is amazing. It’s like they went from zero to sixty just like that,” says Edwin of the project.

Montgomery’s community garden initiative shows how important both community members and policymakers are in getting projects off the ground. The seed of the idea for a Montgomery garden began at the grassroots level last summer, when Voncile Gregory and Andrew Cole-Tyson connected at a neighborhood meeting. However, the project really needed public support and funding, which is where Edwin’s meeting with the mayor came in.

This is just one example of how bringing people together to talk allows small seeds of ideas to germinate and bloom into fully realized projects! If you live in South Alabama, be sure not to miss our Mobile area hunger workshop on June 22. Or, for the Birmingham-area folks, plan to come to the 2010 Food Summit, tentatively scheduled for the first week in November. Who knows what will happen?

Volunteers from St. James UMC prepare two formerly vacant lots for a community garden in East Montgomery. Photo via Full of Life Urban Farm.

Posted by Robyn Hyden