Leah Devlin and I visited with many members of the NC legislature last week. We wanted to tell them about what we in the School have been doing lately and to offer our help. It was great visiting with Leah since she knows everyone and is hailed with great enthusiasm wherever she goes in the state. It turned out to be an incredibly hectic time since Governor Perdue released her budget Tuesday, and many impromptu meetings were called as a result. I came away with great respect for the people of both parties who are trying to do their best to lead this state during a very difficult time. They all were interested in issues we try to solve, like water shortages, provision of mental health services and the growing obesity epidemic.
In the fall, I wrote about visiting HOPE Garden and how impressed I was by the way people were coming together to develop the garden. Saturday, my husband Bernard and I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the garden. It was a gorgeous day, and spirits were high. The audience was diverse and included many students who had worked on the garden, people from the Interfaith Council (which is working closely with the garden), supporters and a variety of people who’d pitched in to help. Speakers included: Butch Kisiah, Director of Parks and Recreation for Chapel Hill, Molly DeMarco, Local Food and UNC’s Sustainable Agriculture Project, Sally Greene, Chapel Hill Town Council, David Baron, the catalyst behind the garden, Mary Cooper, who will lead the garden next year and others. (More evidence of my belief that all roads lead to the Gillings School of Global Public Health–Mary will be an Environmental Sciences and Engineering student in the fall.) I watched the proceedings with David’s proud father, Roy, who has helped in numerous ways, including hauling lumber from Georgia to North Carolina. His mother, Karen, also was there, enjoying the moment with a lot of pride.
HOPE Garden now is flourishing, and provided lettuce and other vegetables for lunch Saturday. But it is more than a garden. It is also a means to train and empower homeless people. And, as it turns out, it is a project that is bridging traditional town/gown divides. For anyone who wants to check it out: it’s on Homestead Road, right near the railroad tracks. They’re not just growing food; they’re growing lives. I’m proud of them.
More about HOPE Garden:
- UNC News – UNC sophomore David Baron receives a Projects for Peace …
- Carolina Connects: HOPE Garden
- UNC Chapel Hill: APPLES Service Learning Program: For Students
- HOPE Gardens will hire the Homeless – Carolina Journalism Network
Happy Monday. Barbara