Front Lawns Feed Neighborhoods

Crop Swap La is an organization based in Los Angeles replacing traditional front lawns with vegetable gardens to feed entire neighborhoods. According to Jamia Hargins, founder of Crop Swap, his company partners with homeowners who have front yards and are interested in turning them into something positive. Crop Swaps establishes micro-farms where neighborhoods pay a monthly subscription to ultra-local food. In addition, homeowners get the share of the produce and a part of the profit. With a monthly subscription of $36, residents get a three-pound mix of fresh organic greens.

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Homeowners use their front yards for something more meaningful. Neighborhoods have access to organic greens and vegetables at an affordable price and get some profit from the sale of the vegetables. There is less water wastage because the vegetable growing uses only 8% of the water needed to maintain traditional lawns.

This enterprise uses less water to produce more positive results that impact health, the economy, and the environment.

For more information, please click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Happy Community Project Enables Community Champions to Build Happier Communities

Community Champions under our guidance initiate projects that engage over 50% of the community to be more socially connected, belonging and caring. Community Champions clarify outcomes, engage a core group of citizens who intern attract volunteers to initiate new ongoing projects. Projects are designed to be ongoing and facilitate connections and engagement between citizens and develop a culture of looking out for each other. We have supported Community Champions in 4 countries on 3 continents.

We have attracted up to 700 volunteers in communities of 10 000 people or less. The community story shifts to reflect a new cultural norm. The community attracts new business visitors and professionals as word spreads about what is happening in the community. The community takes on a new vibrancy and pride in itself. And there is a greater awareness for the wellbeing of their fellow citizens.

When you build the community from the inside out founded on core values of connectedness and belonging, more space is made organically to include marginalized people.

Please find more information here.

Story shared by Barry Braun, Canada

The Energy Garden Empowers Commuters to Combat Climate Change

The Energy Garden is based in London and tackles climate change that educates and unites London communities through gardening. This project began using spaces next to the railway station platforms to increase urban planting and offset emissions from the transport sector. This has expanded to include 30 solar-powered gardens. In addition, the Energy Garden initiative has expanded to include school workshops and youth training programs to teach youth sustainable practices.

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The Energy Garden sites now host bat huts, swift nests, hedgehog houses, honeybee, and bumblebee shelters essential in London because its bee population is under threat. The Energy Garden also grows hops for making its own craft beer. Above all, there is community enthusiasm for the Energy Garden initiative.

This is a creative, community-based initiative that produced multiple benefits- community connections, biodiversity, education on sustainable practices, with the ultimate goal of combating climate change.

Please click here for more information.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Liberating Lawns: Addressing systemic oppression in the food system

Cheyenne Sundance is a 23-year-old advocate for urban farming. Sundance began Growing in the Margins so that people like her affected by the systemic oppression in the food system can grow their own food. In 2019, Sundance began a 12-week free mentorship program that trains low-income urban youth in the art of urban agriculture. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sundance launched the Liberating Lawns to address food insecurity within Toronto. Liberating Lawns matches individuals who want to grow food but lack space with people with gardens to spare.

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Many people enrolled in the mentorship program so that the initial plot behind the church was no longer enough. As a result, Sundance’s initiative took over a greenhouse within the city, a year-round urban farm. It is hoped that farming education given to the youth will be a seed of revolution that will address that oppression within the food system.

This initiative addressed the inequities in the food system by mentoring urban youth in urban agriculture and also by linking those interested in urban farming but without space, with those with space to spare.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Danish Bees Give Hope to Refugees

Oliver Maxwell launched the Bybi in 2010. Bybi is a social enterprise and city organization of beekeepers. Maxwell holds regular courses on beekeeping for immigrants, people experiencing homelessness, and people looking for a fresh start in life. Inclusivity is central to Maxwell. He welcomes people from any background to work and volunteer in his organization. According to Maxwell, Bybi is not about making bees; rather, it is about the community’s health where bees, flowers, and people thrive.

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Bybi has employed marginalized people to plant flowers, place beehives, harvest, and pack honey. It has also brought biodiversity to the Copenhagen area, which now has 150 colonies in 30 locations.

This initiative addressed unemployment faced by marginalized community members, more so for immigrants who are not only new to the community but who may be unwelcomed.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Million Gardens Movement: Plant a Garden For Every Household Living in a Food Desert

The million gardens movement is a charitable and educational initiative that hopes to combat food insecurity and malnutrition. Begun by Kimbal Musk, the movement hopes to accomplish this goal by putting a garden in every household. The little green gardens are ready to use, they come with a customized growing plan and online lessons and activities to support the growth of relevant at-home vegetable and fruit gardens. A donation of ten dollars enables the movement to put these gardens in homes and in classrooms.

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5,000 gardens have already been distributed. The community is engaged by either donating ten dollars to give a garden to a family, those already gardening sign up to join the movement, or read and contribute to the blog and tell other gardeners about it.

This initiative will provide fresh vegetables and vegies for families living in food deserts. Families will be empowered to grow and tend their fresh food. Besides, families also learn about different spaces within their homes that can house vegetable gardens.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

The Social Supermarket

The Social Supermarket is run by a faith-based organization called the Wellington City Mission. The only difference between regular supermarkets and Social Supermarket is that every item in the latter is free. The idea behind the Social Supermarket is to provide food support to the community while simultaneously giving the people the opportunity to choose the food they like. Those in need of food discuss their situation with the organization, after which they are assigned points that determine the amount of food they can shop for. Individual circumstances, for example, single verses family, determine the points allotted.

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The community is provided with food that they like instead of pre-selected food. Also, people learn to work with a budget. This happens as individuals use their allotted points to gauge food items they can afford to buy.

This is an innovation that reduces poverty by providing food assistance in a dignified way while at the same time teaching budgeting skills.

For more information click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Kenyan Woman’s Startup Recycles Plastic Waste into Bricks

The struggle of civil servants in the city of Nairobi to dispose of plastic wastes inspired Nzambi Matee, a young engineer in Kenya. Matee responded to the challenge by starting the Gjenge Makers to transform plastic wastes into durable paving materials. Matee collects polyethylene and polypropylene that local plants cannot process any further and converts them into various paving stones.

Since the company began in 2018, it has recycled nearly 20 metric tons of plastic waste and has created jobs for 110 people.

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This innovation did not only address the challenge of disposing of plastic wastes. It created employment, thus reducing poverty for the 110 employees.

For more information, click here.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA

Google-backed drones drop library books so kids in Virginia can do their summer reading

Kelly Passek, a librarian at Montgomery County School District in VA, came up with the idea of having drones deliver library books to encourage more kids to read from the safety of their homes. Passek could receive the book orders from the children, find the books from different libraries, package them, and deliver them to the Wing facility for the drones to deliver them.

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Wing library book delivery was/is available to nearly 600 students within Christiansburg, VA, which makes it possible for the students to get free reading materials.

This innovation kept alive the interest to read by making available the reading materials during the lockdown. It was also hoped that the innovation of drone-delivered books would instill the desire to read in more kids.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA, based on a story originally collected by the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies of Ball State University, Indiana, USA.

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Avivo opens Avivo Village the nation’s first indoor tiny home community for individuals experiencing homelessness

Avivo Village, an indoor community of 100 secure, private dwellings or “tiny houses” created to provide shelter to individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, opened in Minneapolis’ North Loop Neighborhood on March 8, 2021. Avivo Village was created as a COVID-era means to shelter individuals in a socially distant, dignified way. Residents will have access to Avivo’s unique combination of recovery services, mental health services, and career education and employment services.

In December, a preliminary opening of Avivo Village provided indoor housing for 16 initial residents — many of whom have since found housing while working with Avivo’s housing case managers. As of April 16, nearly 70 residents were housed in Avivo Village’s tiny home community.

Picture retrieved from Freethink

One major inequity in Minnesota’s homeless community is a disproportionate number of Native Americans experiencing homelessness compared to Minnesota’s population as a whole (11% in 2019 of surveyed homeless via compared to 1.4% of MN population via in 2019). Avivo Village was created in partnership with the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the state of Minnesota – but also with a strong partnership between Avivo and the White Earth Nation and the Red Lake Nation, to ensure a welcoming community.

Story submitted by Aaron Shaffer, United States of America

More info here or at