Saturday, January 16, 2010

Well-Fed Neighbor Alliance Activists Meet at New Office

Group reports exciting developments and interesting liasons; 1,000 Gardens Project could go statewide

Springfield, MO - A dozen "Well Fed Neighbor Alliance" (WFNA) activists, including this blogger's husband, gathered for the first time in a conference room where "Hummert International" is setting up shop.

Darrel Sparkman, one of WFNA's 255 (current) members, has supplied WFNA with two office spaces, a reception area, and use of the conference room the group met in on January 15.

Sparkman is general manager of "Hummert International" and "Springfield Seed & Supply," they just moved into the 615 N. Glenstone Avenue location, themselves. The building previously housed "Ozark Food Harvest."

Sparkman said "Hummert International" bought out "Springfield Seed Company" and kept it as a retail outlet in Springfield.

"We sell (horticultural products) to retail and wholesale accounts in the immediate 4 state area, plus all over the United States and overseas," Sparkman said.

Sparkman was quick to tell his fellow WFNA members he has "no expectations" of the group. He said he likes what WFNA is doing and was glad to help by offering the space, "It was the least I could do," Sparkman said. He did, however, express interest in WFNA volunteers planting a garden on the east side of the Hummert building.

Galen Chadwick, co-founder of WFNA, reported he and fellow co-founder Ruell Chappell had met with Missouri Director of Agriculture Jon Hagler and his assistant, Marketing Specialist Tony Anderson, on January 14. According to Chadwick, Hagler has expressed a strong desire to see WFNA's 1,000 Gardens Project go statewide.

Larry Melton talked about involving neighborhood associations through organizing neighborhood clean up days. It was suggested coupons for up to 5 packages of Hummert International's open-pollinated vegetable seed be given to those who disposed of yard waste during the neighborhood clean ups, to encourage gardening in the Springfield community. The coupons would be redeemable at Hummert's store. WFNA volunteers would package the garden seed for distribution on behalf of WFNA and Hummert.

"We're dirt under the fingernails kind of people," Chadwick said. "This is how we get things done."

Aubree Taylor, who heads up the "1,000 Gardens Project" in Springfield, (visit here and here) reported, among other things, she has been working with Shelley Vaugine to try to establish a Well-Fed/Grant Beach Community Garden. Taylor said Vaugine was formerly a librarian and is also working with Taylor on a tool and book lending library.

Taylor is also planning a 1,000 Gardens Earth Day event at Weaver Elementary School for April 23.

Another project of Chadwick and Chappell has been the development of a Food Policy Coalition. According to Chadwick, the plan which the Food Policy Coalition is drafting, "will highlight urban agriculture models and goals, outline food security restoration, and offer a timeline for energy descent from imported fossil fuels."

Chadwick was also pleased to announce John Ikerd is advising the coalition. Ikerd is the author of: "Sustainable Capitalism," Kumarian Press; "A Return to Common Sense," R.T. Edwards; "Small Farms are Real Farms," Acres USA and; "Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture," University of Nebraska Press.

It seemed each of the 12 activists who were present had a wealth of news to share. For instance, Mark Hay, of "Sammy's Window," announced "The Kitchen" is interested in WFNA's assistance with their garden, and that the "Victory Mission" has expressed an interest in assistance with future green house projects. Hay said Hummert International is also interested in teaming up with Victory Mission on future green house projects. Hummert offers a wide variety of green house products for sale.

Hay directed "JackeHammer" to the Sammy's Window FaceBook description for information about that organization, "Sammy’s Window is a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to help foster children enter the foster system with some sense of dignity, and to help foster parents with the transition." (Learn more about the mission of Sammy's Window and how to help at their FaceBook page.)

WFNA has booked the Gilloiz Theater for a January 30 event. WFNA's Ruell Chappell will provide musical entertainment (to be announced). There will be a $10 charge which will go toward paying for the venue. There was a discussion about collecting canned goods and clothing, to be distributed by Sammy's Window, and gardening books and tools at the event. Chadwick said WFNA members could also decorate and share 8 to 10 tables to promote ventures in which they may be involved or display products they have to sell.


Disclosure: Jackie Melton is a member of the Well-Fed Neighbor Alliance


No comments: