As we approach the 4th Annual Rise & Shine Chicora Day, Fresh Future Farm and Metanoia are pleased to announce an agreement that will allow Fresh Future Farm to officially take the leadership role of managing Chicora Place Community Garden and provide support for classes to occur at Fresh Future Farm. The Chicora Place Community Garden sits between Orvid and Calvert Streets at 3107 North Carolina Avenue in North Charleston, SC. Both the Community Garden and Fresh Future Farm are located within the Chicora/Cherokee Neighborhood of North Charleston.
The City of North Charleston purchased the Community Garden (a former trailer park) with Greenbelt Tax Funds to create a recreation space in the Chicora-Cherokee community. After receiving a $1,000 grant from the Healthy North Charleston (funded by the ACHIEVE Healthy Communities), Metanoia received permission to turn a portion of the space into a garden in 2011. Germaine Jenkins was a Metanoia Board Member and a Clemson Extension Master Gardener and resident garden volunteer. Metanoia has sponsored programming for the community garden since its 2011 start. This year they have awarded a $23,000 grant to support Fresh Future Farm’s efforts to manage the garden and host quarterly Introduction to Home/Urban Gardening trainings at the farm a few blocks away.
“So many people have lent their time and talents to turning this vacant lot into probably one of the longest running community gardens in Charleston County.” says Jenkins. “Select Health of SC and AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership played a huge part in finishing the space with the addition of a playground in 2013. I have served as Community Garden Manager for all these years and am excited that Fresh Future Farm is officially taking the lead in coordinating volunteers groups and seeking funding to continuously improve the garden. We hope to create one or more paid interns positions to take care of the space between monthly garden workdays on second Saturdays from 9 am - noon. I still have hope that we can find a local company to cover the costs of adding an outdoor fitness center. Fresh food, fresh air and exercise all in one space is a beautiful thing.”
“What we seek to do at Metanoia is invest in the positive assets of our community instead of just focusing on problems,” says Rev. Bill Stanfield, CEO of Metanoia. “The Community Garden and now Fresh Future Farm are major assets for our community as is the leadership, skill and drive of Germaine Jenkins. Therefore, we are thrilled to further align our efforts with Fresh Future Farm’s leadership and we look forward to continuing and deepening a partnership for years to come.”
About Fresh Future Farm
Located in the Chicora-Cherokee area, a certified ‘food desert’, Fresh Future Farm uses urban agriculture to improve access to high quality foods in at-risk communities and as leverage to establish socially just economic development and a grassroots urban food hub in a way that promotes dignity and jobs for its neighbors. North Charleston City Council approved a 5-year lease on the .81 acre property on September 27, 2014. By October 2015, the farm operated a farm stand and the farm store launched May 2016 and is open from 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday through Saturday (fall hours). It is the first grocery store in the community since Winn Dixie closed in 2005. The farm store is also among the small number black operated grocery businesses in the state. All proceeds from sales go back into operating expenses and programming. FFF’s sells produce grown on the farm along with a mix of locally procured produce, fresh eggs, dairy, and basic and specialty grocery staples at fair prices where they are needed most. The farm store accepts SNAP (food stamp) benefits for food, seeds, and plants. In March 2017, the farm offered its first organic gardening class, and is actively seeking to train residents to help run the operation. Along with access to healthy produce and basic grocery services, FFF nurtures and promotes marketable skills for its employees that can lead to entrepreneurship and socially just economic development.
Fresh Future Farm is a non-profit social venture Mrs. Germaine Jenkins, a working class North Charleston resident who was recently recognized as one of the Top 50 Southerners by Southern Living Magazine and is a 2015 Charleston Magazine Community Catalyst award recipient. She created FFF with Growing Power Inc., the national nonprofit and land trust created by Will Allen, as its model. The timing is right to launch this new venture. SC commissioned a report (Making Small Farms into Big Business) that quantifies the need and economic potential that small farms have on building the state’s economy.
Mrs. Jenkins completed Growing Power’s Commercial Urban Agriculture training in May 2014. She has also invested in Online Permaculture Design training and earned her certification in August of that same year. Fresh Future Farm continues to diversify its agricultural revenue streams to become a grassroots nonprofit that is self-sustaining, which allows staff members to focus their time and energy on achieving FFF’s mission. Fresh Future Farm will grow food, healthier lifestyles and the economy in the Charleston Heights area of North Charleston through the following products and services:
- Commercial urban farm and neighborhood farm store
- Educational farm tours and activities for school youth, families and out-of-town visitors
- Cooking demonstrations and organic gardening classes
- Workshops on innovative urban farming techniques
- New urban farmer and food entrepreneur incubator
- Collaborative community development projects with strategic partners
Fresh Future Farm Mission:
To leverage healthy food and grocery products to create socially just economic development.
For more information about Fresh Future Farm, please visit www.freshfuturefarm.org.
Metanoia Community Development Corporation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in North Charleston, South Carolina. Metanoia’s holistic approach to community development is innovative in that it seeks to discover community strengths and then investment in those strengths so that a community gains the capacity to bring effective and sustainable change from within itself. These investments are currently focused in areas of youth leadership development, housing development and economic development. Though sustained by a wide variety of donors, including Trident United Way, Metanoia was originally begun by the South Carolina Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.. For more information please visit: www.pushingforward.org