An innovative idea has surfaced though the vision of Chantal Mullen. Her goal is not new; she hopes to feed the hungry. She strives not only to provide meals, but to teach those with hunger issues how to grow and prepare at least part of their daily food consumption. Also, not a new idea, but with her innovative approach she just might accomplish her goal. You might be able to help.
Community gardens and food banks struggle to meet the needs of those who literally do not have enough to eat. If we are not paying close attention, we may think this problem does not exist here in Winston-Salem. However, close examination reveals that hunger is a real and ever-present problem. Statistics show that many children only have daily meals at school and the popular backpack programs provide all or most of their weekend nourishment. While this is a welcome supplement to the household, it is horribly inadequate for growing children who need at least three meals a day.
Food deserts exist throughout the area. Food insecurity is a term coined by those who work to put food on the tables of the hungry. Not only are children affected; seniors, the disabled and low-income working families often cannot make ends meet to buy food. Statistics from Feeding America show a 17.2% rate of food insecurity in Forsyth County.
Part of the solution
Mullin’s Seed2Seed program is currently taking steps to become a non-profit organization. “We are calling it the Seed2Seed Hub Farm,” she said. The initial hub is in Roanoke, Va. This is the vehicle through which she is developing her vision. Her most recent endeavor is the development of a four-acre farm on donated land. Current plans include gardens grown by volunteers. Partnering with a range of others, Mullen says her goal is “to bring the Piedmont community together through education, service, and partnership.”
She plans to implement “sustainable practices that close holes and gaps in areas like waste, education, and specific community needs. Mullen thinks “community building allows them to broaden their reach and resources so that more needs get met in the end for all. Ultimately they seek to partner with people and organizations in the community to serve and connect the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina through agriculture.”
Operating on a scale larger than the normal community garden, Mullen hopes to feed “some of the population in the Piedmont Triad that are underprivileged, and underserved.” A partnership with Ward Elementary school in Winston-Salem includes starting a garden on school grounds. She is working with local colleges to include her project in their scheme of outside involvement.
Lowes Home Improvement was impressed with her efforts and provided a substantial donation toward the project.
The farm will include gardens to feed those in need and areas that may help pay the bills, such as a produce stand and cut flower garden. An area for vermiculture and regular composting will help keep the gardens organic. A prayer garden will provide a place of serenity from the sometimes hectic pace of multiple volunteers working together.
For now, Mullen is gathering support in the form of monetary donations and volunteers for the development of the property. If you wish to volunteer or donate, contact Mullen by email or on Facebook.