2020: A Year in Pictures

 

by Christine Noelle, Director of Operations & Development

Hello Foodies, Gardeners, and Friends!

As we finally approach the end of this historic year, I am seeing a lot of people who cannot wait to forget 2020 and start fresh in the New Year. While I too am looking forward with hope for a better year, I don’t want to forget the lessons this past year taught me and I want to take a moment to acknowledge the amazing things that happened along the way. There were so many bright points amidst the chaos and uncertainty and I think it is important that we remember both the good and the bad. The things that gave us hope in times of darkness are powerful and we should remember to intentionally incorporate these things into our lives so that we are more resilient in the next hard season we face. So, I wanted to take a moment to look back at the amazing moments that VGI shared among staff and community.

The age old mantra that a picture is worth a thousand words is still true, so enjoy a Year in Pictures with minimal interruption from me! Happy New Year! Stay safe, healthy, happy, and wiser than yesterday!


Victory Garden Blitz

Despite having to drastically cut back on volunteer shifts and rising supply costs as well as many other unique challenges, we managed to pull off the Blitz once again, building another 500 raised garden beds across the city this spring!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Victory Garden Urban Farm

We leaned in very hard to our 1.5 acre farm in Harambee this year. This plot of land not only helped us grow so much food for the community but was also a safe, outdoor greenspace in the middle of the city that helped us gather our thoughts and maintain some social aspects of our org in a safe, responsible way.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Farmstand

We still ran our Free Roadside Farmstand this year and with our new kitchen we were able to preserve much of the harvest!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Farmhouse

After two years, we finally finished up the major renovations on our Farmhouse early in 2020 and were able to have an Open House to show off the classroom and kitchen space just before Covid. Throughout the year, this space has allowed us to preserve food and even host community dinners by serving out the windows of the kitchen and eating socially-distanced style at the farm!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

If you loved seeing all the incredible local food and community building happening in these pictures, please consider an end-of-year donation to VGI! Every dollar donated helps to fund more food grown and given away, more gardens built, more mentoring opportunities, and more grassroots community work in Harambee!

Donate!

 

A Message from our New Executive Director!

by Michelle Dobbs, Executive Director

Every shut eye ain’t asleep. Every goodbye ain’t gone. – Grandma proverb

Fall is funny; maybe because hibernation looks a lot like sleep. The thing we often forget is that hibernation is a vital part of life. Every living thing needs periods of rest to ensure their survival, and
prepare for the next phase of growth.

Victory Garden Initiative looks a lot like it’s asleep these days. The farm is tucked in: winter gardens planted, compost shared, fully staffed, we’re gearing up for the last Cultivate Harambee event of the summer… seems pretty groggy from the outside. It’s different. Quieter.

What is important to remember is that we ain’t sleep. Mother Earth and her employees at Victory Garden Initiative are hard at work connecting with our neighbors through the darkness of winter. We’re outfitting our new building’s community room and kitchen to hold smaller, more intimate gatherings and classes. We’re managing our systems and operations to sustain ourselves and our neighbors in virtual formats by making tutorials and videos and sharing them widely. We’re completing our annual reports and appeals so that as people approach that End of The Year Giving part of their household budgeting, they will consider VGI. We are here, as we have been for the last ten years. Teaching, learning, sharing, graciously accepting the gifts that our neighbors offer.

The thing about this season is that we’re participating in our civic responsibilities of managing an urban farm from a distance now, so that we can all be safe when the winter passes over Harambee.

What’s also funny is that when the weather breaks again, we’ll be ready! We’re growing inside so that we can install garden beds through our annual (now No Contact) Garden Blitz, put volunteers and interns back to work on our farm, host learning events for our children, and certify another cohort of Food Mentors who will be prepared to teach those who never knew, or who want to remember, how to live in harmony with the earth in the middle of a food desert in the middle of the city. We’re working on fortifying relationships with past partners, and creating new ones.

I’m kind of looking forward to starting off by spending the winter with VGI. This undercover moment to gather ourselves is vital to our growth 2021. We ain’t asleep. We ain’t gone. We just getting ready for the next phase.