Several years ago, my job at that time was ending, and I was uncertain if I would continue in the same career. I considered going back to school and getting a degree in horticultural therapy. The gardens of Food for Thought sound like the vision I had of what could be accomplished. It brings together non-profit organizing, community involvement and relevance, and deeply and personally meaningful volunteer opportunities. Gardening provides the means to accomplish all of these, and thus becomes an end in itself.
Here's an excerpt from the New York Times article published yesterday which brought this to my attention:
Founded in 1999 to provide produce for people living with AIDS, the garden is part of what may well be the country’s hippest food bank, a place where the Alice Waters grow-your-own organic food ethic supplants gloomy institutional staples like American cheese and day-old bread.Links:
The garden, run by Food for Thought, a nonprofit organization, is overseen by horticulturalists from the nearby Occidental Arts and Ecology Center, and many of its volunteers are H.I.V. patients who benefit from it. It brims with green beans and scallions but also obscure varieties of amaranth, an ancient Andean grain with flowing Rapunzel-like purple stalks. The fresh produce harvested by the volunteers is the food bank’s mainstay, though it also dispenses other groceries as well as vitamins.
The bank reflects not only Sonoma County’s obsession with food and wine but also its lesser-known side: long a weekend and vacation destination for gays from San Francisco, about 70 miles south, the area along the Russian River absorbed a heavy exodus from the city in the 1980’s, during the height of the AIDS epidemic.
The food bank, which has an exuberant bower of pink Mme. Alfred Carrière roses at the entrance, serves as horticultural therapy for the volunteers, who prune, snip and add wiggly red worms to vegetable compost. It is also part of a broader move to bring organic food and a bit of the wild into places where it has been lacking, among them schools and prisons.
- New York Times, September 26, 2006, A Rare Kind of Food Bank, and Just Maybe the Hippest, Flourishes
Email: Stewart Scofield, FFTVolunteer@aol.com
Food For Thought
6550 Railroad Avenue
P.O. Box 1608
Forestville, CA 95436