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Staff and community leaders in Hendersonville, NC—one of our newest Bright Cities—came together for a multi-year project to revitalize the city’s 7th Avenue + Brooklyn Community Garden.

This neighborhood, originally established by emancipated enslaved people in the late 1800s, continues building bright futures through broad-based community collaboration. Today, we want to move the needle through strategic activities, including the 7th Avenue + Brooklyn Community Garden Revitalization Project.

What does this mean? 

Our team is building multiple opportunities for neighborhood residents, including growing food using organic methods, conducting cooking classes, and providing hands-on educational experiences in the garden for neighborhood children.

And who is supporting this process? 

Community and city leaders, The Black History Research Group and Caregivers of Mother Earth (COME)  are partnering as we come together in the garden.   

As a child, some of my fondest memories were developed during summer visits to my cousins’ farm in eastern NC. Learning how to grow and harvest healthy food instilled a foundation that I still draw upon as I plant seeds in communities, inviting them to become a COME City.

 How can your city become a “Caregivers of Mother Earth” City?

Just like the Bright Cities at Healthy Babies Bright Futures, our program is approachable, scalable, and can be tailored to what is most appropriate for your city.

The Caregivers of Mother Earth approach seeks to reduce pesticide use that can impact the health of all the kids in our lives and share how to reduce our everyday exposure to toxicants. I like to say that becoming a COME city is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Starting year one with a campaign to “Bring Back the Monarchs,” you naturally grow the program in its second year to promote pollinator health and “Help Save the Bees.” And by the third year, we hope that your city is on its way to achieving unity in your community through the growth of ECO Kids Community Gardens.

Then, just like the kitchen is the heart of your home, your community garden can once again become the heartbeat of each neighborhood in your city.

In our first 18 months, two cities have enrolled and we are just getting started. It’s not hard to join, and I’m happy to share resources. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at  elle@caregiversofmotherearth.org!

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