Danny - Wheeling, West Virginia
One of the first things I noticed when I moved to East Wheeling after growing up in the country is that kids had very little connection with things natural. So, even if it was bugs or insects or snakes or dirt or mud, things that grow, all the things that I found really cool as a kid and made me feel connected to the ground that I stand on weren't happening here in East Wheeling. So that was my original motivation to try to get kids off the concrete and get some kind of connection with the natural world.
Food was a really neat way to do that because what kid isn't excited when they plant a cherry tomato seed and a few months later they get to pluck a cherry tomato off the vine and eat it? Grow Ohio Valley works to do just that, to connect people to their food. We work to try to teach kids how to grow food.
We try to give people gardening opportunities who want them but don't have them, such as senior centers or housing projects. In the meantime, we also work on food access. We have a mobile farmers market goes around to different communities making healthy local food available while we grow a pretty significant quantity ourselves at our urban farm and at our rural farm. We're trying to get out a holistic picture of what it means to get a community connected back to the roots of its food.