One of my supervisors, Nathan, who is also one of the elders in my house church, has been doing a lot of enthusiastic investigation into urban farming for our neighborhood here in Binghampton. The benefits would be copious: new jobs, fresh and locally grown produce, reduction of blight, an alternative to vacant lots in the neighborhood, a stronger connection to God's creation and an opportunity to teach kids about agriculture.
At CCDA in October, we were introduced to Will Allen and Growing Power in Minnesota. So, Nathan has been learning from him and another chap in nearby Arkansas. Because we are blessed to have the Binghampton Development Corporation in the neighborhood, their will be immediate access to necessary vacant lots. The initial construction of some hoop houses will afford the opportunity for a 365 day growing season here in Memphis. It will be fantastic!
Obviously, the one immediate hurdle is the initial capital necessary to get this show on the road. So, Nathan began investigating grants and keeping an open ear. He told me that he doesn't understand why he is doing this; it's not in his normal repertoire for ministry in the neighborhood. But, for some reason, he has felt strongly that God is doing something here and he doesn't want to ignore it.
Well, last week, a totally unrelated individual, we'll call him Ted, who is a local media executive, picked up the phone and gave Robert a phone call. He had an idea he wanted to chat with Robert about. Robert is the managing director at the Binghampton Development Corporation (see above). The man happens to be in Robert's church and knew that if there was anyone to talk to about his idea coming to fruition in inner city Memphis, it would be Robert.
His burning idea was that he had been following Will Allen and Growing Power and he really felt strongly about helping to develop something similar for the people of inner city Memphis. The problem was that he was just one man with a lot of money; he was disconnected from the personal and knowledge capital required to get this thing going. Robert told Ted that he knew just the person to talk to.
Ted meet Nathan. Nathan meet Ted.