Sustainable Communities Network is a  commnity-based  non-profit organization located in Lexington, Ky that endeavors to educate, inspire, build, create and empower sustainable  cities


Lexington KY Community Garden Map and contact info

Donations are welcome

2011 Fundraising Letter
with highlights of our work in 2010
Good Foods Film Series

Soul Food Junkies Lexington & Louisville KY


We encourage you to read our

SCN Annual Report 2009

Back 2 Nature project Report

Youth GreenCorps Report

GROWLEX Community Garden Manual

God's Worms

God's Worms doc

IMMAG Concept Paper

SCN Presentations

School Garden Workshop

Sustainable World Sourcebook

Sustainable Communities Network contributed articles, photographs and quotes for this book.


Join the Bluegrass garden network!

For list of current Community Gardens  in Lexington,





News Media
Coverage of Jim Embry

Greene Scholars

Keeneland Magazine Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden

Who is Jim Embry?

Jim has been a community activist for more than 40 years beginning as a civil rights activist in 1960 as a 10 year old. He founded the Sustainable Communities Initiative in Lexington and has spent more than 30 years working with and nurturing young people as social change agents. Click here to Jim has been a community activist for more than 40 years beginning as a civil rights activist in 1960 as a 10 year old. He founded the Sustainable Communities Initiative in Lexington and has spent more than 30 years working with and nurturing young people as social change agents. Click here to read  more.read  more.

We are Each Other's Harvest essay

Jim Embry Year in Review

Stella Natura-Great Work of Transforming

Stella Natura-Cup of Carver

Greene Scholars

Slow Food Equity, Inclusion and Justice Panel

Embry  Pres entation  on Food Sovereignty at the Parliament of Worlld Religions

Embry Biodynamics Journal Article November 2018

Berea College Presentation


Celebrating Isaac Burns Murphy

October 19-24, 2015


Tuesday, October 20th, 6:30-7:30 pm

 Public Talk at the Lyric Theatre by Pellom McDaniels author of Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy. A reception will follow the presentation. Exhibit will be open in the Gallery. ·

Thursday, October 22nd, 2:00 pm

The KY Horse Park will unveil the newly engraved headstone of Isaac Murphy with tributes to Murphy and Kentucky 's African American horsemen. The ceremony will take place in the renamed Man O' War Isaac Burns Murphy Memorial ·

Thursday, October 22nd 3:30p - 4:45p Interpretive Panel Unveiling The Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden Board of Advisors will host the unveiling of the interpretive signage installation at the site of the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden located at the intersections of Third and Midland. The permanent panels describe the life of Isaac Burns Murphy, describe his home site, recognize the contributions of other Black Jockeys and pays tribute to those who have contributed to the racing industry. ·

IMMAG Concept Paper

Friday, October 23rd, 5:30-7:00 pm remarks by Frank Walker with an opening reception for 'I Dedicate this Ride' will be held in the honor of African Americans and their contributions to the equine industry. The reception will take place at the Lyric Theatre from 5:30p-7p. 7pm Opening night of 'I Dedicate this Ride' will take place following the reception and is Pay-What-You-Can admission. Exhibit will be open in the Gallery. The University of Kentucky Community Engagement Office is the presenting sponsor of the evening. This FREE and open to the public event will highlight the accomplishments of Frank X Walker, Dr. Pellom McDaniels, the Black Turf Project crew, and the Mustang Troops. The evening is designed to stop and account for the past, present, and future cultural and economic contributions these individuals and groups have made to the local equine industry.

Saturday, October 24th, 10 am:

Murphy Family Memorial Dedication at African Cemetery No. 2 located at 7th and Chestnut Streets

Saturday, October 24th,7:00 pm 2nd performance of Frank Walker's play 'I Dedicate this Ride' with Pay-What-You-Can admission price. Exhibit will be open in the Gallery.

EXHIBITION in the Lyric Theatre Gallery by Pellom McDaniels

August 31, 2015 - December 11, 2015

Jim Embry speaks at 

Somerset Community College




You Are Invited To Hear:

event Media Release

Event flyer 

okJim Embry

Kentucky-based Environmental and Slow Food Activist

Speak in Nashville

Terra Madre:

the global movement for food that is good, clean and fair!!

Wednesday June 17, 6-8pm

 West End United Methodist Church at 2200 West End Avenue, Nashville

The Mapp/Embry Family of Kentucky and Tennessee in Conjunction with Chef Martha Stamps (A Place at the Table) 


A Multi-generational Family Book Signing, Photo exhibit with Presentations  

With a Delicious Dinner

Wednesday 17 June 2015 6 PM – 8 PM

Dinner begins at 6 PM ($12 for adults, $6 for children under 10)

RSVP for dinner reservations: (615) 713-7094 and/or info@questionuniverse.com

The free presentations begin around 6:45 PM

West End United Methodist Church

2200 West End Avenue (across from Vanderbilt University)

Nashville, TN 37203

For more information contact:

 Irucka Embry, (615) 713-7094 and/or info@questionuniverse.com

Martha Stamps, 615-983-8850,  info@marthastampscatering.com, marthastampscatering.com

The evening program includes:

Twin brothers Irucka (Nashville) and Obiora Embry (Lexington, KY); their mother, Dr. Deborah Mapp–Embry (Louisville, KY); their aunt, Ivy Barksdale (Lexington, KY); their father, Jim Embry (Richmond, KY) and their grandfather, James Mapp (Chattanooga) will read from and sign their books. Jim Embry will also exhibit photographs from his travels to Terra Madre and around Italy.



Jim Embry USA Delegate to Terra Madre

Jim Embry presenting Terra Madre

On October 15th, Jim Embry presented "Terra Madre: A Blue Print for a Sustainable Future" to students, community members, ...

Watch this video: 2014 Salone del Gusto/Terra Madre Pre-view

This short video describes my local work: KET Kentucky Life feature

Terra Madre Delegate:   I have been selected to represent the USA and KY as a delegate to Slohhw Food’s Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto held in Torino, Italy, Oct. 23-27. In total, more than 500 people applied to be part of the US delegation, but only 240 were chosen nationwide and five persons from Kentucky. So I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be part of this delegation. Slow Food  is an international movement that involves millions of people dedicated to and passionate about good, clean and fair food that includes chefs, youth, activists, farmers, fishers, educators, musicians and business people in over 150 countries; a network of around 100,000 Slow Food members linked to 1,500 local chapters worldwide, and 2,000 Terra Madre food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality food around the world.

Part of my role as a delegate from Kentucky is to reach out around the state and share my experience with other. This is my way of “taking my community with me”.  These are my speaking engagements and outreach efforts: 


Terra Madre: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future speaking engagements by Jim Embry:

1) 10/1 UK Gaines Center Lafayette Seminars panel on local food. evening program and bios;  Media coverage: 

Series-to-teach-power-of-food, program-will-focus-on-food-justice

2) 10/ 14 Owensboro Unitarian Universalist Congregatio

3) 10/15 Owensboro Community and Technical College ( The students are all reading Joel Salatin's book, Folks, This Ain't Normal, and I have been invited to speak as a followup to the campus-wide reading and Joel's talk

4) 10/16 Somerset Community and Technical College 

1 November TBD-Berea College; UK Design School; Bluegrass Youth Sustainability Council; Growing Power Small & Urban Farm Conference in Milwaukee.                   Invite me to speak to at schools, faith congregations, community groups, civic clubs, or conferences.

Embry Terra Madre Promo Letter

Donate today  

Help Send Jim Embry to Terra Madre

My Previous Efforts to Bring Terra Madre Home

Here are some examples of creative support I have received from friends regarding my previous trip to Terra Madre:

In addition to Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto check out the other grand projects of Slow Food such as:

For more information about Terra Madre and Slow Food look at these books:

Slow Food Companion Guide;  Slow Food Almanac 2013; The-Slow-Food-Story by Goeff Andrews;  Terra Madre by Carlo Petrini & Alice Waters.


sustainlex.org Director Jim Embry featured on KET Kentucky Life show:

KET’s-Kentucky Life with Jim Embry.

Jim Embry BIO KET gardens show

Community Gardens with Jim Embry

For Jim Embry, a community garden is more than just a source of food and beauty. He believes that gardening has the power to change the world.

A social activist since his youth in the 1960s, Embry believes that community gardening is the most important social movement in the country. Through workshops, tours, presentations, and service projects, Embry connects community gardeners—from the private and public sector—to the earth and each other. Dave Shuffett visits with Embry in Lexington and looks at several community gardens.

Community gardens are located in city parks as well as on school grounds and even in road medians. Local governments promote community gardens as a way to provide fresh food for low-income residents and to beautify the area. Gardens also improve the environment: In Lexington, a rain garden of trees and perennial flowers at Limestone, Vine and Main streets catches rainwater.

Embry, who holds a degree in biology, served as executive director of the Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership in Detroit for four years before returning to Kentucky in 2005. He has been a three-time U.S. delegate to Terra Madre, a biannual gathering in Italy for members of Slow Food International.

**************** *****

Embry Family Book Signiing and Art Exhibit

February 21 and 22, 2014 Lyric Theatre
On the third Friday and Saturday of February, the Embry families of Central Kentucky and Tennessee are hosting an event to remember!  You (and your family) are invited to attend the Embry Family Book Signing & Art Exhibit: 21st Century Thinking & Reimagining at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington, KY.

On Friday, you can view photographs taken by father Jim and son Obiora Embry, and paintings by Bessie Johnson. Come back Saturday to purchase books signed by authors Dr. Deborah Mapp-Embry and her two sons Irucka Ajani and Obiora Embry.  Along with their books, a family cookbook will be sold, there will be performances by spoken word artists Tiffany Bellfield and
Vibration Kunvorted and a musical performance by Vaughn Gillispie.   And you can continue to view the photographs and paintings.

    When: Friday, 21 February 5-8 PM
    (in conjunction with February Gallery Hop)
    Saturday, 22 February 11:30 AM-3:00 PM

    Where: Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center Multi Purpose Room
    300 E. Third Street; Lexington, KY 40508

For more information about the event and/or to learn more about the participants, go to www.embrybooks.org.

 Embry Family Book Signing & Art Exhibit.
Slow Food Southern Region Meeting

Slow Food Southern Region | Facebook  


Slow Food Southeastern Region Leadership Conference Charlotte, NC January

Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group

2014 Conference Program — Southern Sustainable Agriculture ...  


Our conference program is, as always,
loaded with practical information 

Eight Acres of History: Lexington's African Cemetery No. 2 - YouTube  


Mar 12, 2012 ... Lexington Public Library presents an original documentary production on a  historic African-American cemetery and the small band of ...



Jim Embry award winner at Yale University  
Unity-Award-Winner-at Yale University

Key News Journal Embry on Local Food Summit

Urban Farming Techniques Will Be Taught at Local Food Summit

By Patrice K. Muhammad

Jim Enbry, Convener of The Bluegrass Local Food Summit

 Across the United States, in urban cities in every state, people have returned to growing and raising food for themselves as a means of employment and or survival. All over the nation, Blacks have been at the forefront of the urban farming movement and Lexington is no exception.

Jim Embry has been educating people world wide and working to build gardens across the Bluegrass since 1968.

“My involvement with issues concerning food justice, healthy eating, and community gardening goes back a least to 1968 when after attending Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral and meeting Ernie Green of the Little Rock School Integration movement, I was offered a summer job to work in New York City,” Embry said. “It was there in Brooklyn that I was exposed to concepts that we now call food deserts and food justice.”

Embry will lead the 5th Annual Bluegrass Local Food Summit March 22-24 at Crestwood Christian Church 1882 Bellefonte Dr.


The Summit will attract local food growers, elected and government officials, educators, institutions and other community members to discuss the food system.

Local Blacks must attend this summit. Even if you do not consider yourself a gardener, farmer or food activist, there is much to learn and use during this event.

In 2008 Embry said in The Key Newsjournal that though Blacks have historically been victims of discrimination and physical abuse as a result of slavery one of the most damaging effects has been our disconnection from Mother Earth. “Africans have a strong earth connection and we must reconnect with that.”

Embry submitted the following when asked his most inspirational stories of Blacks involved in the new food movement:

“Well the life and legacy of our esteemed brother and most humble American scientist, Dr George W. Carver, is my most inspirational story about participation in urban or rural agriculture. All of the efforts that we see now for local food, organic food, biodiversity, biodiesel for automobiles, sacredness of nature, eating healthy, ALL of these directions of action and thinking is what Carver encouraged us to do. If only we had listened! Now even though he pointed the way for what we are doing now, he gets little if any credit for this good food movement.

“Now my other inspirational story is that of my friend, Will Allen who founded Growing Power in Milwaukee [more than] 20 years ago and regards himself as the George W. Carver of this century. I love this brother because he is so humble, not afraid to get his hands in worms and compost and yet can mix it up with the likes of President Obama and First Lady Michelle.”
However, not all Blacks are on board with urban farming or even concerned about their food. Embry said, “I feel that the major civil rights or human rights issue of our time revolves around the food system. This globalized, unhealthy and commodity-food based food system is what is killing us today. 80% of all human diseases is food related and African American are negatively impacted the most. So this should be an issue that is foremost in our minds but is is not. We should be in the leadership of what Will Allen calls the Good Food Revolution, but we are not! It is troublesome that we seem to have little concern for something that is so devastating to us a people.”

Embry is looking forward to welcoming more Blacks from Central Kentucky to the event this year. “Caring about food has spiritual, economic, cultural incentives,” explains Embry. “On a spiritual, Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths have within  the sacred texts passages about humans being made from clay or dirt or what we call compost. Working to plant, grow, harvest, eat and compost is all spiritual work. Economically we can save money on food expenses by planting some of our own food. Culturally, we should regard our bodies as temples and should then consume the kinds of foods that  are deserving of being in a temple. Eating is an agricultural act. So since everyone eats then we should be concerned about our relationship with food. I encouraged our [community] in Central KY to get involved in the good food revolution, grow a garden and attend the Bluegrass Local Food Summit. This Summit will provide inspirational speakers, workshops on gardening, composting, films and much more.
Key Conversations Radio has partnered with Pepsi to sponsor a Rain Barrel Workshop during the Summit on Saturday, March 24. Participants will build a rain barrel and leave with it, ready to catch fresh water for gardening. The $20 workshop cost will be a contribution to SustainLex.

For more information contact Jim Embry at embryjim@gmail.com or see this workshop ad on page 12 of the march 1st issue of the Key Newsjournal.

Short URL: http://keyconversationsradio.com/?p=3905

Jim Embry  Black History Month Photo Exhibit
 Ky. Voices: Ways to encourage sustainability, creativity  

egtsignJim-Embry-2010-Garden-Crusader  Jim Embry, Director of Sustainable Communities Network named finalist in Education believes that community gardening is the most important social movement in the country. "The climate is changing and that is because we are disconnected from the Earth," he says. With a lifetime of experience as a social activist, Jim is now working to connect community gardeners to the earth — and to each other.

"In the garden, adults and even very young children, learn about patience and discovery and not to be afraid. Gardens teach citizenship and stewardship," he said. "For the last generation, the focus has been on computer literacy; now it's time for the focus to be on eco-literacy."

Read the full story: 1st Place: Jim Embry, Lexington, KY



First African Jazz Concert

First African Church History

Jim Embry Interview salone 2012

Jim Embry Interview Terra Madre/Salone del Gusto 2012

George W. Carver compliation

Shawnee Planning

NKU Sustainability

Embry 5th District Newsletter

Embry Key News Food Summit

 Embry WE-are-all-artists

Embry Publlic Republic


bry Speech at Immigrant Rights Rally

Embry Talk at Somerset Community College Terra Madre

Fresh Start Plan  Contributions(Jim Embry) 

Embry Web Articles
Embry Ace Articles
Brattleboro 100year plan

Hip Hop Vegan Group

Jim Embry Terra Madre Links

Sam Levin 2008 Terra Madre

ACE Weekly download articles

Gardens of Eatin

Shovel Ready

Lexington Gardens Grow

Dig It: Gardens Root

HOBY Eco-Art 2009
HOBY Eco-Art 2008

Model of the Year
Closing the Food Gap

Greening of Bryan Station High School

Growing Food & Justice conference

Community Garden Tour Report

Gardening with Class

Bluegrass Food Security Summit 2010
Growing Food and Justice

Soul Food Junkies

The Great Work

The Great Turning

Farm to School

School gardens

Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program/GreenHouse17

Family Care Center

Catherine Ferguson Academy

Catherine Ferguson "O" magazine article

Asenath Andrews

 Grown in Detroit

Greening of Detroit
Adamah: MetroTimes The Greening of Detroit

Food and Sacred Earth Connections

Religion and Environment

Closing the Food Gap 2008

Profile of State Food Policy Councils by State

Interactive Map of State Food Policy Councils

 Climate Change  portal information

Climate Change Books

African Americans Climate Change:Unequal Burden_REPORT

African Americans Climate Change Ex Summary

African Americans Climate Change Bullard Bibliography

Slow Food Newsletter