Over the summer of 2014, I was able to participate in a life altering experience as an Urban Gardening apprentice at Growing Places Indy in Indianapolis, IN. At the time, I was studying Philanthropy at IUPUI and discovering my passions. I have great interest in health topics and found myself researching things like natural health, holistic, wellness, organic, gardens, farming, real food, clean eating (and the list goes on with all related topics) more and more often. I did class projects on the importance of healthy food and food access. The apprenticeship gave me real life experience through planting, maintaining and harvesting from the gardens, self reflection, teamwork, yoga and bike riding, talks on food injustices, and visiting small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The amazing summer ended, I finished up school, the cold settled in and then… we moved to Florida! I got a job at a hospital and things were going great for my husband and I, at least it seemed that way. We have a beautiful home, great friends, we are able to travel, spend time together, and enjoy life. I just kept getting this itch that would not go away. I wasn’t in the right place. I kept thinking, “Does my job allow me to positively effect others in the way I feel called to? Am I really following my passion? Am I doing what God has created me to do?” Simply put, the answer was “Not fully.” I am so thankful for my current job and the great people with whom I work. I am able to support the great work of the hospital and the professional growth of my team members and also run the farmers market. My thoughts kept returning to Growing Places and IUPUI and the things I learned. My husband and I had previously talked about starting our own nonprofit or business and with looking at the negative health state of my community, I decided I had to do something. That leads me to where we’re at now.
My husband is the most supportive person I know. He also looks at things in a completely different way than I do which is so complementary to me and needed. I am the visionary, he is the realist. Together, I think we make a pretty good team. Lately I have been prepping garden beds, seeking out organic seeds, reviewing planting guides, deciding on growing plans, and planting. This is a very small backyard operation right now. My husband has taught me to start small because there is always room to grow and improve, and I encourage you all to do the same.
Beginning a new venture is exciting, challenging, and energizing. We came up with the name ONE3 Urban Gardens based on Psalm 1:3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither,and they prosper in all they do. The mission of ONE3 is to provide organically grown produce to the community at an affordable cost to improve food accessibility and to encourage, inspire, and equip our community to lead healthy lives. As the gardens grow, so will the programming to include family cooking classes, fitness classes, gardening workshops, and kids camps. It will all take time and effort and I am excited to see what is to come. I will keep you updated with the growing gardens and the journey of following my passion as it all unfolds.