- Alfred Aberman.
My name is Alfred Arberman, 64 ½ years young. And having lost my job, this is the best thing that could have ever happened to me, preparing myself to become an organic backyard gardener and in my next life an organic farmer. The experiences and classes I am having I would have never gotten from books alone. Especially the personal life stories, encouragement, and practical examples I am getting from the farmers themselves are invaluable. You don’t get that from books alone. Specifically when working hand-in-hand with the volunteer farmers, I am learning to do the various things in different ways and learning to adapt them to my specific needs and requirements.
- Teena Bare.
I want to grow my own food. As a child my family always had a large garden, though then I didn’t appreciate the hours of planting, weeding, picking beans and then canning all that we could harvest. But as an adult I miss the fresh flavor of food picked off the vine. Not to mention the pride and reward of your own efforts. I have 6 raised beds and have been unhappy with the yield I have received and I don’t want to use chemicals in my food. I want to learn from experienced growers who are successful with their organic methods. I also, feel it is so important to teach others about where their food comes from. The lessons of the garden include learning personal responsibility, the value of hard work, respect for nature, and most important and clearly needed in our communities, respect for self. I hope to share all that I learn with others in bringing our neighborhood together to start a community garden.
- John Davis
I am currently getting a Masters of Arts in Theology at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur. Right now, for me this entails researching and writing about sustainable agriculture in relation to Christian Scripture, Theology, and Ethics. I also currently intern at Truly Living Well Farms in College Park. Ideally, my goal is to start a farm with a church, school, or orphanage in Atlanta in order to get healthy food to homeless and hungry folks as well as the surrounding community by using sustainable, ‘land-healing’ techniques. I also think developing an urban farm in this type of environment would be incredibly beneficial for educational purposes, work programs, and general community building and sustainability.
- Dennis Glover.
I am interested in starting my own urban farming business and as I don’t have a formal background in farming or agriculture, plants and different growing methods have been an interest of mine for sometime. Urban farming would also be renewing a family farming tradition, last practiced by both of my grandfathers. The Georgia Organics training program would also give me the insight and foundational experience to start and successfully run an urban farming venture. The best way to get the knowledge I need to run a successful venture is to immerse myself in an urban agricultural setting that encompasses all aspects of running such a venture. Being able to experience urban agriculture from differing aspects will also give broad view of the possible ways of approaching urban farming, taking the best practices from each.
- Lesa Hope.
I work with families who live in poverty and who have a family member with intellectual disabilities. I have sat in many homes where children were hungry. Many of these households are headed by mothers’ with disabilities, who have experienced terrible exploitation and abuse. I facilitate a support group for some of these women. They shared that as children their parents’ large vegetable gardens and chickens, and remembered being poor, but not hungry. They said that they had really not learned to garden. They moved to the inner city, to apartments and lost all knowledge of growing their own food. Hunger is a significant justice issue. Most of the families we serve live in food deserts, and have health complications from poor diet such as obesity, diabetes, HBP. They lack access to good, affordable food. I want to support these families in regaining their knowledge and ability to raise organic food so they can feed their children, so they can in turn teach their children how to grow food.
- Octavia Jackson
Professional and personal motivations have brought me to the Urban Agriculture Program. As a 4H coordinator serving 200 students for Lamar County Cooperative Extension, I want to strengthen my preparedness in teaching academic lessons in agriculture and increase my practical knowledge of sustainable agricultural to work with the students at a local school learning garden. Personally, this program affords me the opportunity to contribute to the larger community through service-learning, and I want to establish a small-scale farming operation of my own in the future.
- Sharen Jenkins
I am a former primary school teacher, and now home school my own children in Decatur. I want to learn about urban gardening because I see a need in my community to understand who grows my food, have the ability to grow it myself and then to teach and feed my family and others properly. This is an opportunity for me to learn and share the knowledge of agronomy and to understand our spiritual relation to the soil.
- Colette F. Joly
I am a proud resident of the Pittsburgh Neighborhood of Atlanta for the past 5 years. My current projects are starting a non-profit based on wellness and health, restarting the Pittsburgh pride Garden, and expanding gardening throughout my neighborhood and Neighborhood Planning Unit-V.
- Billy Mitchell
I really like dirt. I like how it smells and how it looks. I like how kids will push their faces in it and adults will say they feel better after getting their finger nails dirty. I don’t like how people complain about cities being dirty, or how kids and adults have to grow up in neighborhoods that are dirty but have almost no healthy dirt. I am in the program to learn how to help dirt be happy and healthy to help make happy and healthy plants to help feed happy and healthy people. I want to learn the best ways to do this and the best ways to teach this. In the end, I want to be able to build gardens from scratch with people in their neighborhoods and sit around and marvel at all the earthworms, butterflies and mountainous okra plants we’ve begun to thrive with. And I’m really excited for all times we can lay on the ground and munch on fresh fruits and vegetables with kids who never knew something with a little dirt on it could taste so nice.
- Della Spearman
Della Spearman is a published writer, author, and speaker. She is currently a graduate theology student at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. Spearman was a regular contributing writer for The Detroit Free Press and San Antonio Light newspaper. Spearman is an ordained missionary and uses her passion for gardening to help transform communities. A North Fulton County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener residing in College Park , Spearman uses gardening and community development as a tool for transformation and change.