Accepting Applications for New Community Gardens

Accepting Applications for New Community Gardens

GrowMemphis is proud to announce that we are now accepting applications for new Community Gardens through January 2, 2014.

Every year GrowMemphis provides start-up funding and training to neighborhood residents who wish to create and sustain gardens. These gardens eliminate blighted property, produce fresh healthy food, and provide opportunities for community building. Each garden is as unique as the neighborhood in which it is found. GrowMemphis’ goal is to help new gardeners identify their most important needs and to provide the training and resources to help gardeners realize their vision.

 

Download the full application here:

2014 GrowMemphis Garden Application FINAL (Microsoft Word)

2014 GrowMemphis Garden Application FINAL (PDF)

 

SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS WILL RECEIVE

  • First year tools, supplies, and infrastructure
  • Assistance in planning, coordination, and installation
  • Community Gardening 101- Comprehensive start-up training in urban agriculture and community building
  • Monthly network and training opportunities with our network of community gardeners
  • Seeds and starter plants (annually)
  • Technical assistance (site visits, training)
  • Collaborative services such as volunteer coordination, farmers market sales, in-kind donations of tools and supplies (when available), and more.

 

 

REQUIREMENTS

Groups must:

  • Develop a realistic plan for creating and sustaining a community garden
  • Engage with neighborhood residents to create projects that best meet community needs
  • Attend Community Gardening 101 training program
  • Actively participate in collaborative projects such as annual greenhouse work
  • Agree to use natural/organic practices whenever possible

 

APPLICATION PROCESS AND TIMELINE

  • Applications must be submitted to Christopher Peterson, Executive Director of GrowMemphis, via email, mail, or hand delivered, and received by January 2, 2014.

Email address: chris@growmemphis.org

                                       Mailing address:  3573 Southern Avenue, Memphis, TN 38111

  • Applicants will be assessed according to the following criteria:

Demonstration of Need – Priority is given to projects serving low-income, food-insecure communities. Groups should be able to describe the specific need of their neighborhood. The purpose and goals of the project should reflect that specific neighborhood need.  GrowMemphis also prioritizes starting gardens in neighborhoods in which we are not already working.

Likelihood of Success – Groups should be able to demonstrate that the project has leadership from the community it intends to serve. Groups should also have a plan to sustain the project in the long term; sufficient community and volunteer support; and appropriate support and/or permission from a sponsoring agency or land owner (GrowMemphis is able to advise on land access questions). The most important factor in success of new gardens is participation from within the community that gardens intend to serve.

  • Applicants will be notified by February 1st whether or not they have been awarded.
Memoirs of an Intern: Still Processing…

Memoirs of an Intern: Still Processing…

Still Processing…

By Michelle Chiles, GrowMemphis Market Intern

It’s been three days and I still can’t get the image out of my head, the smell. It was a solemn morning, sobering. It made you realize how fleeting life can be. It made you realize how tied humanity is to the earth and how dependent each creature is on every other.

I woke up at four a.m. to drive an hour to Ashland, Mississippi where Chris and I would help Josephine and Randy of Tubby Creek Farms process their chickens. I’d never been to a real farm before. It was amazing. 70 beautiful and diverse acres. Fields, woods, wild, and a home.

Happy little chickens were running around their portable coop. Freedom Rangers are generally very happy chickens. There were six crates, which we took up to the yard where two tables, a hot pot of water, and a large plucking machine were sitting. I’m not going to go deeper into the actual process. It isn’t necessary.

Josephine, Randy, Chris, Landon, Albert, and I worked almost seven hours before we ate lunch. It was a wonderful lunch prepared by Josephine: pita, homemade humus, homemade honey-mustard, farm fresh napoli carrots and sweet potatoes, and refreshing honey sweetened tea.

Now that the hardest part was over, we packaged and stored the chickens. It was a weird moment, seeing the end product of such a strange process. Seeing the whole thing through you feel accomplished, but also confused. You just partook in the killing of an animal whose life is often taken for granted.

Though I may be contemplating and experimenting with vegetarianism after the processing, I can say with confidence that Josephine and Randy work very hard to ensure their chickens lead full and productive lives, that they eat properly, and that they suffer as little as possible. They understand that, as Landon, one of the farmers helping out, put it, the process is “sobering.” It makes you realize the importance of knowing where your food comes from and the importance of sustaining every kind of life on earth. Those chickens eat the grass, fertilize it so that the soil produces tastier and healthier vegetables, supply the eggs whose protein is so integral our mornings, and make a great dinner for those who choose to eat it. No matter what, those chickens and many other animals raised on small farms like Tubby Creek, provide sustenance for all people. Our lives are tied to the lives of animals. We must protect them, treat them well, and feed them properly for all our lives, human lives and animal lives, to be better. The life of any animal cannot be taken for granted.

It Takes a Community to Grow an Event: a special thanks to our fall fundraiser partners

It Takes a Community to Grow an Event: a special thanks to our fall fundraiser partners

by Christopher Peterson, Executive Director

Let me start out by admitting that fundraising is not my most favorite part of being Executive Director of GrowMemphis. As most folks who raise funds as part of their job description can attest, it is easy to feel like the weight of the organization (and in your mind, the world) is on your shoulders. For our 2013 GrowMemphis Garden Party, planning began back in June and July and was ongoing literally to the minute I put on my tie and stepped into Stone Soup Café to start greeting guests. The anticipation is the most stressful part. Will people even show up? Will there be as many people as last year? Did I forget anything important?

It is heartwarming enough to be able to walk away from this event and be able to say that we raised the funds we need to help Memphians start new community gardens; that we more than broke our attendance targets; and that we successfully balanced the evening so that our garden partners, funders, supporters, and newcomers alike felt welcome and had a good time. The true blessing, though, is to come out of the event knowing that we didn’t do this on our own: we had a community of supporters who donated time and talent to make this happen because they believe in our work. Let me take a moment to thank some of these individuals who made our fall event special:

The Chefs-

At this time of year every chef in Memphis is inundated with calls to support local fundraisers. We were proud to have such a wonderful crew supporting us this year. We are greatly indebted to Justin Fox Burks, Amy Lawrence, Jennifer Chandler, Jake Miller (Cultivate Memphis), Jesse Keenan (Slider Inn), Catherine Miller and the Rhodes Garden Fellows, and, of course, the illustrious Michael Hughes for doing what they do so well. Not only was the food absolutely delicious (if you missed it- a locally sourced slider, tamales, deviled tomatoes, pimento cheese tartlets, homegrown soups, a sorrel based cocktail and more), but working with these folks was a dream.

A special thanks is owed to Justin Fox Burks for his help reaching out to other chefs and for making sure the meal was well balanced.

Stone Soup Café:

We learned this year that venues in Memphis seem suited to either 50 or 500 guests. For a small organization like ours, that presents more problems than you’d think. Troy, Sharon, and Stone Soup Café were the hosts that everyone dreams of working with. Open with communication, flexible with needs, and always happy to help, Troy and Sharon were ready for us at 4:00 when we started to set up (having been there since 6 that morning), helped us tidy up (being quite generous with their standards for reorganizing their restaurant), and then back to serve breakfast at 6:00 the next morning.

High Cotton Brewing Co:

When I contacted High Cotton to purchase beer for our event, Shawn not only offered to deliver the evening of the event, but he stayed all night to pour. Now that’s definitely a high standard for customer service! It’s little things like this that make an event run smoothly.

Sponsors:

This year we were able to offer all food and libations completely free of charge with only a $35 ticket. The only way this is possible is through wonderful sponsors. I’ll admit, I was hesitant to even offer a “Grower” level sponsor, thinking it would be difficult for us to attract that type of donor. Splash Creative Design, though, stepped up and did all of our design work free of charge. Likewise, Christian Brothers University’s Office of Advancement and School of Arts transformed our event overnight through their Grower Level Sponsorship. With the addition of our supporter level sponsors (Carl & Pan Awsumb and the Memphis Center for Food and Faith) and Friend Level Sponsors (Molly & Jason Wexler, AmpleHarvest.org, Rhodes Environmental Sciences and Studies Program, Noah and Allyson Campbell and Huey’s Midtown), we were able to go into our event relaxed and confident.

Silent Auction Donors:

Although these folks are too many to name here, I want to point out that the bulk of our auction donors are small restaurants, artisans, and business people: they donated their talent not because they had cash or inventory to spare, but because they want to make our community a better place.

One story sums up these folks perfectly. In a panic looking for sorrel to complete Michael Hughes’ cocktail, I ran into Jill Forrester of Whitton Farms and Trolley Stop Market and asked if there was an off chance she had some that I could purchase at short notice. Not only did she donate two pounds of sorrel, but she also threw in a fantastic Trolley Stop Gift Basket for the auction.

Thanks is also due to Mya Donald, Caroline Carrico and Kenny Latta for coordinating every aspect of the Silent Auction (Kenny also spent personal time and talent building the fantastic chicken coop we auctioned off.)

Mark Allen:

Mark is an incredibly gifted guitarist. Gifted musicians are not always the most laid back individuals. I can’t thank Mark enough for donating his Saturday night and being one of the nicest, most laid back individuals I know.

Final thanks,

Finally, special recognition of GrowMemphis’ Board of Directors, team of interns, and Food Policy Coordinator, Carole Colter is in order. Every step along the way there was a sponsor who needed following up with, an item that was nearly not purchased, a personal invitation that needed to be made, or one more poster to hang. Not only did these folks produce tremendous ideas, pick up slack when needed, and prod me along when necessary, every single one of them came to the event to celebrate the work that community gardeners are doing all around Memphis.

Some would say that the dollar amount raised is symbol enough of community support for our work to transform Memphis’ food system, but we’re tremendously fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such a dedicated community of individuals. We look forward to next year.

 

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A special thanks to Paul Crum for these photos. To see more photos and read his article visit: http://udistrict.micromemphis.com/6/post/2013/10/grow-memphis-garden-party-proves-funding-can-be-fun.html

2013 GrowMemphis Garden Party: Tickets Available!

2013 GrowMemphis Garden Party: Tickets Available!

 

GardenParty_Web_banner

 

Click here for tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/476705

Our gardeners have done a lot of great work this year; we want to celebrate, continue, and grow that work by having all of our supporters under one roof for the night.  This year’s event will feature live music, a signature cocktail designed by Michael Hughes, local food, and a showcase of the hard work done by our network of gardeners.  Items from across the city will be up for bid in a silent auction.

Distinguished Chefs this year include:

-Justin Fox Burkes and Amy Lawrence

-Jennifer Chandler

-Jake Miller, Cultivate Memphis

-Jesse Keenan, Slider Inn

-Rhodes College Garden Fellows

The auction will feature a chicken coop built by GrowMemphis’ own Christopher Peterson and garden advocate/intern Kenny Latta.

When:
October 26, 2013
From 7pm to 10pm
 
Where:
Stone Soup
993 S Cooper St  
Memphis, TN 38104
 
 
Tickets: 
$35/guest
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/476705
 
 

Thanks to our sponsors!

Friends:

Molly and Jason Wexler

Emily and Burt Fulmer in honor of:

 AmpleHarvest-Widget-Green60
 

 Rhodes College Environmental Science and Studies Program

Supporters:

Memphis Center for Food and Faith

Carl and Pan Awsumb

Growers:

Splash Creative Design

CBU For Web

Christian Brothers University’s Office of Advancement and School of Arts are proud to support GrowMemphis and its network of community gardeners in their mission to promote a sustainable local food system.

    
 
 

 

 

 

Memoirs of an Intern

Memoirs of an Intern

by Lauren Hales, GrowMemphis Market Program Intern
Life’s unexpected lessons and encounters have always proved to be the most joyful and valuable for me. When petitioning to become a GrowMemphis Market Intern I assumed I would be learning more about farmers markets, how non-profits operate, and how to act cheerful at 6AM on a Saturday. However, this experience has been teaching me more through the small everyday happenings than I could have imagined.
For example, one of my favorite Saturday morning rituals has become driving to Nathaniel’s house to pick up his produce to sell at the Cooper Young Community Farmers Market. Nathaniel, a wonderful GrowMemphis gardener, is a walking, talking, encyclopedia of random gardening facts. For someone like myself who has always worked more on the politics and effects of food systems, these little gardening tips that are peppered throughout our conversations have given me a taste of the intricacies of maintaining a garden–and have left me wanting more. I think Nathaniel senses this because when he nonchalantly hands me a gallon of compost tea and sees the resulting look of confusion on my face, he kindly explains what in the world the suspicious looking brown liquid is. Last Saturday when he walked out of his house carrying bundles of fresh greens, I was privy to the fact that it is getting to be the time of year when greens are making themselves known, but that apparently they are fickle creatures and like the heat about as much as I like the cold…not at all.
It has been these one on one conversations and experiences that have meant the most to me in my internship thus far. I hope to continue to learn from the amazing, dedicated, people around me…because what else are internships for?
Grow Ghana pt. 2

Grow Ghana pt. 2

by Khomorai Galloway- former GrowMemphis Community Garden Program Organizer

photo (9)

 

 

 

 

 

I speak this message finds you all in a good time and space. Khomorai here, directly from the cradle of civilization with another Grow Ghana post.
I’d like to take this blog opportunity to address different issues that are similar to what we do. It’s far past time for re-building our communities, cities, country and planet. Two recent events have sparked this train of thought. One of these is the fiftieth anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech delivered by Martin Luther King. The second is a landmark court hearing & verdict here in Ghana in regards to the results of their 2012 presidential election. Both events, some fifty years apart, are still about simple truths: every person walking this planet has civil rights and every particular race, gender or economic class of oppressed people have the right to these civil liberties. We are not always going to get along or agree with one another. In fact, people will more than likely disagree more than agree. There will always be prejudices, racism, classicism, and stereotypes. It’s in human nature. However, if we ALL can learn to come together, respect one another, & LISTEN to each other, WE can coexist in a much more Peaceful Planet. If people of different classes, races, and religious backgrounds can come together in a community garden on a 100 degree summer day to plant, weed & harvest, we should be able to come together as People. In the words of Robert Nesta Marley “We should really Love each other in Peace & Harmony.” …Until my next entry: Peace, Love & Harmony…u all in a good time and space. Khomorai here, directly from the cradle of civilization with another Grow Ghana post.

GrowMemphis Garden Party

GrowMemphis Garden Party

Our gardeners have done a lot of great work this year; we want to celebrate, continue, and grow that work by having all of our supporters under one roof for the night.  This year’s event will feature live music, a signature cocktail designed by Michael Hughes, local food, and a showcase of the hard work done by our network of gardeners.  Items from across the city will be up for bid in a silent auction.

 

Distinguished Chefs this year include:

-Justin Fox Burkes and Amy Lawrence

-Jennifer Chandler

-Jake Miller, Cultivate Memphis

-Jesse Keenan, Slider Inn

 

The auction will feature a chicken coop built by GrowMemphis’ own Christopher Peterson and garden advocate/intern Kenny Latta.

When:
October 26, 2013
From 7pm to 10pm
 
Where:
Stone Soup
993 S Cooper St  
Memphis, TN 38104
 
 
Tickets: 
$35/guest
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/476705
 
 

Thanks to our sponsors!

Friends:

Molly and Jason Wexler

Emily and Burt Fulmer in honor of:

 AmpleHarvest-Widget-Green60
 

 Rhodes College Environmental Science and Studies Program

Supporters:

Memphis Center for Food and Faith

Carl and Pan Awsumb

 

Growers:

Splash Creative Design

CBU For Web

Christian Brothers University’s Office of Advancement and School of Arts are proud to support GrowMemphis and its network of community gardeners in their mission to promote a sustainable local food system.

    
 
 
 
 
Grow Ghana

Grow Ghana

by Khomorai Galloway, 
former Community Garden Program Organizer for GrowMemphis

 

I speak this message finds you all in good time and space. Khomorai here, live and direct from Accra, Ghana. Yes, I’m alive and well. I haven’t been attacked by a swarm of yellow fever infested mosquitoes or kidnapped and held for ransom or any other clichés that one may have in regards to traveling to Africa. The colors are vibrant and beautiful; the reds are redder, the greens are greener, and the people are just as vibrant as the colors. Farmer’s markets? That’s an every day, every block occurrence: flowers, pottery, hand carved furniture. The fruit, one word… JUICY. The mangos are DELIGHTFUL; the bananas are AMAZING; the pineapples are white and TEN times better than the yellow one’s I’ve had in the States. I’m averaging four bananas, one mango, and one pineapple daily. Edible things are growing everywhere. From medicinal weeds in our front yard to herbs like neem and moringa (good for malaria and hypertension) to corn, things grow every other block along the streets (yes there are paved streets here). Back yard poultry policies aren’t necessary ’cause there are chickens in everyone’s back, front, and side yard. One actually ran with me while I was jogging Wednesday morning. Agriculture as a viable living, surprisingly, isn’t embraced by many locals due to the same challenge that we face in the states: making farming a profitable and sustainable occupation.

We are still getting settled in as a family, and I plan to do more ground work in the local traditions and methods to growing and sustaining crops. Unfortunately, as many of you all know, I’m not the most technology inclined human. So, I’m not sure how to load my pictures onto the computer at this time. However I’ll do my very best to learn or get adequate help so that I can upload my pictures. In the meantime I speak Peace, Prosperity and Positive Energy to All. Keep the GOOD food GREAT people movement going. Until my next entry Love and Light…

 

Khomorai Galloway

Food for Thought: Farmers Markets, what are they?

Food for Thought: Farmers Markets, what are they?

Volume 4 of "Food for Thought"

by Carole Colter- GrowMemphis, Food Policy Coordinator

 

The definition of a farmers market is as broad as the customers that visit them.

 

Memphis has over two-dozen farmers markets, some in small neighborhoods, vacant store parking lots, economic development hubs, parks, nonprofit organizations, medical centers, and universities. These markets operate during the week, weekends, and even in the evening. All of these markets serve a unique population and purpose.

 

Many large cities throughout the region have dozens of farmers markets, ones that operate daily or weekly and some have strict policies on who can be a vendor based on the target consumer and the needs of the vendors.  A “producer (farmer) only market” for example may not fit the needs of a market whose mission is to provide healthy whole food to low income or food insecure neighborhoods. These markets may need to consider other creative models such as resale, community gardening organizations, and prepared foods vendors (think homemade bread and canned fruits and vegetables). Memphis, by and large, is a very low-income, food insecure city that is struggling with job creation, job security, unhealthy lifestyles, and eating habits. Perhaps resale and cooperative models at these farmers markets would not only help provide healthy food and lifestyle options, but food access that would create additional income and new entrepreneur opportunities (aggregators, resale, or co-operatives) in the food system.  The farmers market in this sense is acting as a food system social outreach component along with revitalizing the culture of growing and selling food in urban areas for food security.

 

This is not always the farmers market one has in mind. Other markets in the city have a “producer only” policy that engages with local farmers, foodies, chefs, and food trucks to bring a social and cultural experience to the act of purchasing local farm fresh and organic food. This is often not only a local’s experience, but a place for visitors to the city from tourist to suburbanites to soak in our local culture, food, and entertainment.  The farmers market is a hub of economic activity and generates an income for the city and vendors involved.

The small neighborhood farmers market is very similar as a gathering place and a Saturday morning ritual of coffee and community. This place making through food markets benefits not only the artisans and farmers, who also enjoy the fellowship, but it creates a neighborhood culture of belonging, it’s your market.

And lastly colleges, medical facilities, and nonprofit organizations are growing farmers markets. These markets also serve a diverse population of staff, students, visitors, and patients with a common goal of providing convenient healthy food and lifestyle education.

 

Like Memphis the farmers markets within the city serve a diverse population and needs.  There is not one vision or model that works best and the consideration of the community, purpose of the market, natural growth of the market needs, and customers often gives us hints to the direction in which the market should evolve. This in principle can be very different than the market you had in mind but rest assured you can always find the one you are looking for. Get out and explore Memphis, support your local farmers markets, your market “place” is just around the corner.

 

A thank you to Khomorai Galloway

A thank you to Khomorai Galloway


GrowMemphis is sad to announce that Community Garden Program Organizer, Khomorai Galloway, will be leaving GrowMemphis for a brand new adventure. Khomorai has accepted the offer of a lifetime, the chance to move to Ghana with his partner. Khomorai has been an incredible asset since joining GrowMemphis’ team earlier this year. We would like to thank him for his hard work for the organization this year and wish him well as he begins his new adventure in Africa. After he settles in, GrowMemphis will periodically post updates as Khomorai looks to continue exploring the transformative power of food production in his new home.

 

Thanks again to Khomorai for all that he has done for our organization and for this city.