You could call it serendipity, but I call it intention.
Darian comes to the garden after school every day to work at the FarmStand. He and the other FarmStand kids sell the produce they helped grow to the neighbors. They make a little pocket cash, learn marketing skills, and understand the value of hard work. Darian takes home a bag of fresh veggies for his mother when he leaves. His family’s diet improves. His ability to focus in school increases and, unlike many of his cousins, he graduates from high school and enters college. For six months out of the year, 20 households eat fresh veggies that Darian helped grow.
Meanwhile, little JoAnn has a BLITZ garden in her front yard. She has access to all the good food she needs regardless, but when she is outside in the garden with her mother, watching the bees pollinate her tomatoes, she makes the connection between food and the urban ecology around her. When JoAnn grows up she naturally chooses to eat foods that are grown without the use of pesticides. She uses her dollars to create alternative food markets, contributing to a better world through her purchases.
Gayla walks from her house across the street from our small urban farm. When I mention that I haven’t seen her in a while, she tells me that she just got out of the hospital again. “This place is my saving grace.” She heads toward the production area with her small daughter in tow. They harvest a bag of veggies to cook for dinner.
Martha grew up on a small family farm. She recalls the day the family farm foreclosed. She was seven, and her family lost everything—including access to good, fresh food. After a lifetime of feeling the loss, Martha found our Food Leader program and began to respond. She started Gramma’s Gardens at area daycares in her hometown.
This could be serendipity. But I choose to believe that the deep intention of the good work that we do with YOUR support has made this long, otherwise unattainable string of events occur.
Research shows that people who garden eat more vegetables, are healthier and lead more productive, happier lives. Research shows that neighborhoods with gardens have less violence and increased civic engagement. Research shows that kids who grow up gardening with a mentor have a stronger environmental ethic and are more likely to engage in land stewardship as an adult. Research shows that children who grow up eating home-grown vegetables are more likely to foster a local economy.
The only luck in this game, is that somehow, some way, we had a chance to share our mission with you.
Our goal this year is $30,000. The Herzfeld Foundation has offered us a $20,000 match in support of the youth education work we do at Concordia Gardens for a total of $50,000!
With intention, contribute to our work this year. We can foster serendipitous happenings all over Milwaukee by helping this community grow its own food.
Your intentions will multiply with every gardener.
PS: Today, we are thrilled to launch our first-ever text-to-donate service. To support this mission, text VICTORY to 27722 and follow the prompts to donate—and you might just be the first!
PPS: I thought you would enjoy hearing from some more of the people we work with. Your support means the world to us.
“The work all of you do every day is inspiring and gives me hope for the future, as a lifelong resident of the inner city neighborhoods, which often receive harsh misunderstanding or a lack of attention altogether by so many other Wisconsin communities. Thank you for your example of going above and beyond your fair share of work.”
– Gillian M., volunteer
“This event did more than train us on how to build garden boxes….it also helped us to build our sense of community by building a network of urban farmers that are growing their own food and working together to become a healthier and more self-sufficient, food-independent community. Thanks to VGI we have plowed the ground and planted seeds of good food for good health for so many Green Bay children and families.”
– Kim D., Green Bay BLITZ Your Town! trainee
“VGI gave me the courage to stand in my own truth as a consumer, a community member, and most importantly as a leader in the food system. Moreover, VGI has served as a model for the development of Grow It Forward, the food-based project I lead.”
– Amber D., Food Leader
“The garden really changed my life for the better. Last year, when I came out of the hospital, I had a stroke, and I wasn’t doing well both mentally and physically. My life just changed. If I go over there, I can actually feel God’s presence.”
– Gainon E., Concordia Gardens neighbor