For the past two and a half years, I have been on the east coast studying religion at Washington Adventist University and working on an urban farm called Eve’s Garden in Camden, NJ. When I left for the east coast, I had every intention of returning one day to Hollywood, CA to begin my ministry with my church. At the time of departure, I had an idea that it would include children and it would be radical but I had blurred vision about the details; That is until I rediscovered my passion for gardening. Gardening has been at the root of my existence, my father’s existence, and my grandfather’s existence. My time in Camden helped me to learn what it means to garden within a community, for the community, and as a tool of ecological justice in an unjust world.
I returned to Hollywood, CA in mid-December 2009 to focus on community building and the development of a nonprofit organization with a dear friend, Nathan French. Nathan is the Peace and Justice Coordinator at Hollywood Adventist Church. When Nathan and I began talking through emails, we realized our passion for community although they took shape in various ways. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and pastor of our church, Ryan Bell, we decided to propose the idea of community gardening to connect the greater Hollywood community around a basic human need and right, healthy food. Nathan has a passion for the homeless of Hollywood and building community through the arts and simple activities like community walks. Together we’ll be working to bring justice and improved quality of life to our community. Together Ryan, Nathan, and I hope to our have our non-profit, Just Hollywood, up and running by this summer.
After being here nearly two months and trying to tie up many loose ends, as transitioning has been more difficult than I imagined, we have our first milestone under our belts. This past Saturday, I handed over our rent check to the hands of the treasurer of the Fountain Community Garden. We have purchased plot #28 in the Fountain Community Garden for one year to begin growing healthy food three blocks from our church. The garden is covered by weeds right now but the soil is healthy and the land is good.
What are you going to do with the food you grow? Good question! Homeless and destitute people surround the church, some in fact are our members or attend on a regular basis. We will harvest the food we grow and give it to some of the people who need it most. Many families in Hollywood are immigrant families that survive day-to-day on unfair wages. They cannot be worried about the quality of their food but rather the necessity of food no matter the quality. Hopefully we can begin to educate the neighborhood about the importance of healthy food and the justice of the poor, orphans, widows, and foreigners next door.
We hope to include you in our story and learn the stories of others as we begin to garden, harvest, and seek peace and justice for all our neighbors. It is my promise to keep up this blog so check back and see the results of a church community who seeks to do justice and reclaim radical nonviolence in our community.