In urban spaces, food sovereignty is a powerful tool to strengthen communities. According to urban agriculture non-profit Bountiful Cities, such practices enliven and empower self-reliance and cooperation as individuals and groups grow, harvest, and eat fresh local produce.
Bountiful Cities was founded in 2000 with the mission to create urban agricultural spaces. Partnering with community groups to focus on dialogue, trust, and community needs, Bountiful Cities’ programs emphasize social justice, access to education, sustainability, and economic viability. Dogwood has partnered with Bountiful Cities to support the Collaborative Urban Agriculture Apprenticeship program, which will provide living-wage professional development opportunities to apprentices of color and those with low generational wealth. The program will provide participants with education and comprehensive preparation for employment in urban agriculture, food security organizing, nonprofit management, and other areas within the local food system.
Funds from Dogwood will also support food security work within Bountiful Cities’ existing programs. The F.E.A.S.T. (Fresh. Easy. Affordable. Sustainable. Tasty.) program provides hands-on cooking and gardening education to youth in Buncombe and Madison counties. Staff coordinate the Community Garden Network (CGN), a free member network offering community members access to a Seed Library, Tool Library, garden meetups and workdays, a volunteer recruitment program, educational workshops, supply and infrastructure development, and technical assistance. The Pearson Garden Nursery, Bountiful Cities’ flagship garden, provides growing support to area schools and community gardens. Existing infrastructure includes a pavilion, an outdoor kitchen, cold storage, a hoophouse, greenhouse, in-ground growing, and processing facilities.