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The Voice of the Black Community


‘Edible forest’ addresses food security
Community groups plant for self-sufficiency
Published Thursday, November 21, 2013 7:15 am
by Herbert L. White

The seeds of self-sufficiency have been planted in NoDa.

Empowerment Project Executive Director Sunya Folayan (left) plants a tree Saturday at Johnston Memorial Church as part of the Community Partnership Garden.

On Nov. 18, a community garden was planted at Johnston Memorial Church, 729 East 36th St. to improve food security in underserved communities. Organizers of the “edible forest” campaign are looking to teach urban agricultural skills and address the connection between food insecurity and clinical depression among women. Clinical depression affects more than 19 million adults and is frequently misdiagnosed among African Americans.

“For women, clinical depression has been identified as a major health problem, and the effects among African American and marginalized women are further multiplied,” said Sunya Folayan, executive director at The Empowerment Project. 

The garden, made up of trees and plants such as cherry, blueberry and pomegranate, includes workshops facilitated by experienced farmers. Grants from UPS Foundation and Keep America Beautiful Mecklenburg County paid for the trees.

“The goal of the grant is to help the community and environment and by planting trees create positive impacts that promote volunteerism, greenification, sustainability and so much more,” said Jake Wilson, executive director of Keep America Beautiful Mecklenburg County.

The Community Partnership Garden was established last year as a joint program between Johnston Memorial Church as part of its outreach ministry and The Empowerment Project, a nonprofit advocacy group for women, girls and families. Keep America Beautiful of Mecklenburg chose The Empowerment Project for the garden, which was dedicated in April. 



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