Sustainable Communities Network
Changing lives & landscapes
Dear Community friends,
this year comes to an end we ask you to invest in
the future –and support Sustainable Communities Network in 2011!
Over the past year as our economic situation has worsened
producing higher unemployment and increasing costs of fuel and food, people
everywhere are struggling to maintain their household and meet their basic
needs. These developments have generated a renewed interest and an increasing
necessity for growing our own food. Consequently we have received many phone
calls, emails and on the street requests for support in establishing school,
backyard and community gardens.
Sustainable Communities Network as been supporting these requests in many ways: organizing
neighborhood meetings, sharing tools and resources, offering advice, preparing
grants, hiring and training youth, organizing volunteers, distributing plants
and seeds, connecting with farmers, creating web-based resources, speaking at
every opportunity and yes digging in the dirt!
We ask for your generous support so we can continue to respond to
the growing needs. Here’s a brief look (full descriptions with pictures on our website) at
what we have accomplished in 2010:
helped establish the garden at One Parent Scholar House/Virginia Place
where single women and their children had their very first experience with
growing their own food and eating veggies right out of the garden. Raised beds
for families and pre-school classes were painted and planted with herbs, corn,
yams, peanuts, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, flowers and much more!
Some evenings we worked in the garden past sunset and under the full
moon. These women and children were such a tremendous hit on the
Community Garden Tour!
· we continued our support of the Kid’s Garden at the Chrysalis
House for Women where women with addiction gain the needed support. Our
weekly garden and art projects enhanced the site with fruit trees, berry
bushes, lots of veggies, bird feeders, flowers and colorful art installations.
There is so much joy and fulfillment when the children’s eyes beam from what
they have produced!
· other gardens that we supported included: Bluegrass
Domestic Violence Program; Nelson Ave with youth in Drug Court; Catholic
Action Center; The Learning Center; Winburn Community Art Garden, Aids
Volunteers of Lexington, numerous faith congregations and k-12
we collaborated with community
partners to host the Bluegrass Food Security Summit that featured tracks
on food security in KY, integrating school gardens into curriculum and
faith community involvement. The seed of an idea for the faith community
involvement in gleaning was planted at the Summit and harvested throughout the
summer in the form of Faith Feeds.
· our other interaction with the faith community included: 1)
we designed and facilitated a weekend retreat, Stewardship of Creation,
for women with Pax Christi Catholic Church, 2) we gave sermons at Resurrection
Episcopal Church and Unitarian Universalist Church on sacred Earth
connections, and 3)we presented garden workshops at Centenary United
Methodist, St John’s Baptist, Beaumont Presbyterian, Bradford Acres Christian
and Calvary Baptist Churches.
· we organized the 4th Annual Community Garden
Tour that involved travel by buses and bicycles for 150 people;
designed and facilitated several community garden workshops; provided
service opportunities for 1,000+ volunteers; hosted visitors from Egypt,
Detroit, St Paul/MN, Bolivia and gleaned 2000+ pounds of fresh vegetables for
area food banks,
· for 5 days in April we hosted our dear friend Asenath
Andrews, principal of the Catherine Ferguson Academy(CFA) in Detroit.
This school for teen mothers and their children which boasts a working urban
farm was the subject of the award winning film, Grown in Detroit. We
were blessed to accompany Asenath and the film for showings in Lexington,
Louisville and Berea. These films showings helped raise $3,000 to support
the travel of 10 young women from CFA to attend the Youth Entrepreneurship
Conference in South Africa where they provided training to other
conference participants on urban agriculture and helped build gardens in
· we facilitated creation of the Fresh Solutions project
with Catholic Action Center and Employment Solutions that now includes:
1)a community hoop house that provided food and a garden
experience for homeless citizens and adults with disabilities, 2) a worm
composting operation,3) hot composting of 500 lbs of food scraps each week, 4)
a service learning site for Eagle Scouts, school and faith groups, and 5)
art installations from found objects.
· we received national recognition: 1) as a finalist in the Garden
Crusader of the Year award by Garden Supply, 2) selected as a USA delegate
to Terra Madre-International Slow Food gathering held in Torino, Italy.
· we supported the Good Foods Co-op, KET and One World
film series that included such films as The Garden, Grown in Detroit,
Dirt-The Movie, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, Black Gold, Hemp Revolution.
· we served on the board of Environmental Commission,
Lexington Climate Action Plan Team, Good Foods Co-op, Isaac Murphy Memorial Art
Garden, Bluegrass Partnership for A Green Community, Winburn Community Action Advisory
Board, Central KY Council for Peace and Justice.
· our media coverage included interviews, articles and
videos: Kentucky Green TV, Urban Farming magazine, WKYT-TV Noon News, Skirt
magazine, ACE weekly, Lexington Herald Leader, Natural Awakening, Progressive Radio
· we participated in and served as speakers at: 1) state (KY
Association for Environmental Education, Local Food Healthy Farms, Green
Housing Summit, Festival of Faiths/Sacred Soil) and national conferences (Growing
Food and Justice Gathering, Cincinnati Food Congress, Southern Sustainable
Agriculture Working Group), 2) TED-Lex, Frankfort Rotary Club, and
3) universities; pre-schools, elementary, middle and high schools.
· we served as co-authors of Sustainable World Sourcebook,
Encyclopedia of Northern KY, African American Heritage Guide to Lexington, and
8 Acres of History-African Cemetery No.2 film documentary.
· we met with 1st Lady of Kentucky Jane Beshear
and other state government staff to develop a comprehensive strategy for our
statewide effort to expand school and community gardening.
We are literally in the
trenches providing support for families and communities who wish to
become more self-reliant by growing and eating some of their own food while
also developing the partnerships that create a more sustainable local economy.
Please take time to read more details about these exciting initiatives
and our other work on our website. http://sustainlex.org/
HELP US continue our work in 2011... Make a contribution !!
us nurture sustainable communities that are ecologically healthy, socially
just, economically vibrant and spiritually fulfilling.
Your contributions to Sustainable Communities Network will allow us to remain
responsive to the growing needs and open to the opportunities that gardens,
healthy food and sustainable living bring to our communities. Please
consider making a contribution that will support our programs to empower,
inspire and educate our communities about social justice, sustainable
living and sacred Earth connections ….especially the youth!!
Consider these ways to contribute:
consider making a financial donation,
yearly or monthly, by credit card or by check (to SCN, 573 Stratford
Dr. Lexington, KY 40503).
consider holding a House Party For Sustainable Communities Network
- Volunteer with our
community initiatives, join our network and bring your ideas
to speak at your
school, university, faith community, or conference
creative...suggest other ways that you can contribute to this
We are very
grateful for your continued support and involvement and look forward to
enhancing our relationship with you in 2011. And we appreciate all the work
that you are doing to build sustainable communities.
We wish you and your family
continued peace, purpose and prosperity in the NEW YEAR!!!
Jim Embry, Director