Agrihood - food cultivation American Resilience

First Sustainable ‘Agrihood’ Gives Free Produce to 2,000 Detroit Residents

An urban renewal option that fosters communities instead of tearing them down and replacing them with gentrification.

One of Earth’s greatest challenges today is finding ways to give everyone access to nutritious and sustainable food. We know – small countryside farms. But how can we work with what we have today to generate sustainable grub?

Let’s talk *agrihood*, a new concept that promotes a localized relationship between living, eating, and working. It’s not new age mumbo jumbo, it’s actually cutting edge innovation that even big corporations are curious about because it’s working.

Non-profit The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), along with funding from corporate friends with local interests (inc General Motors Technical Center and Sustainable Brands), formed the first sustainable agrihood in America. They’re based in Detroit, and they give free produce to 2,000 nearby residents. They’re also turning a nearby abandoned building into a community resource center that will soon be home to a cafe, non-profit incubator, and workshop space.

 

 

“More and more companies are realizing that if they embed purpose into the mission they can really help the communities that they’re in,” Jonathan Reese, Director of Business Development at Sustainable Brands.

Agrihoods aren’t a one size fits all type of deal but that’s what’s cool about them. They ask the community what they need and build accordingly.

American Resilience

Shakespeare Unites War Vets

In Kentucky, combat veterans are being brought together by an unlikely source — theatre.

Fred Johnson, founder of Shakespeare with Veterans, says there is an unexplainable power in Shakespeare’s words of 400 years ago that modern language can’t quite convey. War, loss, empathy, and tragedy are threads in the scripts that hit the heartstrings of many vets.

“But we in it shall be remembered,” Shakespeare wrote in Henry V, a play that is also known for it’s prolific battle speeches. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.”

Some were skeptical that veterans would find this program interesting, but some neighboring organizations went ahead and joined together to make it happen, including the Louisville Vet Center and the Kentucky Shakespeare Company.

The Shakespeare With Veterans’ goal is to offer “the opportunity for camaraderie and a higher sense of purpose that represents what veterans loved most during military service.”

 

Photo: Shakespeare With Veterans

 

The vets rehearse in the local Louisville Vet Center, a haven that also provides counseling for PTSD, outreach, and referral services (like employment assistance).

Amy Attaway, artistic director for Kentucky Shakespeare, told Huffington Post about her experience directing the vets. “They would say, ‘this speech sounds like exactly what I would say to my soldiers in the field,’ or ‘this sounds like it could be today’. Those moments have been really exciting to me—new people waking up to the poetry and the power of the words. If you let yourself dig into it, you’ll find whatever you’re looking for.”

Since the program’s initial launch in early 2016, the experiment has become a success. Many vets have found great joy in discovering their inner thespians, some driving 2 hours each way to attend rehearsals.

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