Meet Charles McNair, new grower at the Freedom Farm, formerly known as the Urban Farm, at Washington Park. Check out his story below and stay tuned for more info on the growing community connections happening at the FREEDOM FARM!
Here is Charles’ story in his own words…
Grew up in a rural environment until attending college in 1988. While growing up we lived next door to our grandparents, who owned the land we lived on, as well as rented out other land they owned to local farmers who planted on a large scale. We raised our own pigs and chickens and planted, harvested, and stored the bulk of our own food, only having to purchase certain items for consumption. My grandfather and grandmother taught me about farming and agriculture from preparing the land for fertility, to breaking up the land, to planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and storing (canning, freezing, drying ,etc). We grew butterbeans, greens, peas, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, etc. We also had fruit trees and plants such as strawberries, pears, apples, cherries, scuppernongs, purple grapes, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.
During the summer months, grandfather would come to the window to call my brother and I to awaken and get started to “water the collards” before it got hot. We also would pick cucumbers for money for our cousin, who was a large scale farmer. My grandparents also modeled and taught us about being good neighbors by sharing and/or trading what we had grown with our neighbors.
Graduated BA in Religious Studies with a minor in Anthropology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1993. Trained grassroots organizer through the Childrens Defense Fund and Midwest Academy. Helped to open and establish Dillard Academy Charter School in 1998. Worked there until 2003 as an Executive Administrative Assistant. Returned to work at Dillard Academy in 2008 and was surprised to see the garden initiative and WFI. Being able bodied and young and experienced with agriculture, I jumped at the opportunity to start working with the earth again and teaching the youth what my grandparents taught me about the earth and proper respect for it and the value of working smart and working efficiently and when needed, working hard. When the opportunity came open for Washington Park, I was overexcited to have a larger, more independent project to throw my energies into while teaching grownups the value of organic and sustainable agriculture.
Hello everyone. Today marks the final day of the fast food fast. The previous weeks were fairly easy. On some days, a bit challenging but I stuck through it. Although the fast food fast is over today, I will continue to be on a full fast from soda, fast food, and (i’ll try my best) to stay away from pork (which was my chosen self-challenge).
We, the SWARMers of the Wayne Food Initiative, pledge no soda & no fast food for four weeks, July 12th-August 8th.
As Immanuel says: “I/We just know how we feel when we are eating at fast food, verses when eating Grandma’s cooking.” We will do this in solidarity with other NC youth Food Activist groups, and are asking for your support.
Please pledge a daily amount, watch our reports on WWW.WayneFoods.org, and join us by making your own good food choices!! We’ll be posting challenges, benefits, and creative solutions we find to make this good food eating shift easier to do!
TO PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT: contact a swarmer directly if you know one and fill out their paper pledge form OR fill out our cool wufoo form!
We’re really geeked about the effort we’re putting together and need your support to get more youth involved!
Proceeds will support the SWARMers programming and projects, like attending the annual Rooted in Community (RIC) youth conference and growing good food in our community. Also check out SEEDS, Anathoth, and Stone House who are NC RIC organizers and also doing a fast food fast! Support NC food youth work!!
follow us on face book, and look for updates during the fast here on the WFI blog!
We asked our SWARM team members to create bios of themselves to share with the WFI community, and to tell us about their Fast Food Fast pledges. Here they are!
Immanuel Bryant was born on April 11, 1992 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. When he was three he and his family moved to Lakeland, Florida and at the age of twelve he moved back to North Carolina to stay and tend to his grandparents. Immanuel just graduated from Eastern Wayne High School and will be attending Elon University in fall 2010. After he graduates from college he wants to work either for Apple, Scholastic Inc., Blackberry, or CollegeBoard. He’s joined the Wayne Food Initiative because he believes in its mission and purpose; he agrees wholeheartedly that healthy food should be accessible and affordable to everyone. In WFI he wants to do research, manage funds, a bit of farming, manage the website, and sell vegetables, as well as introduce people to the program/club/group.
My name is Bath’-She-Ba Patterson I am 16 years of age and I attend The Wayne School of Engineering. I was born in Kenansville, North Carolina I’m currently living in Goldsboro. The career path I’m heading towards is in Law. I really love working with children also and helping them with their problems. The College I’m interested in is North Carolina Central University. I have been hearing they have one of the best law programs in North Carolina. S.W.A.R.M. folks are like my second family I love it. I got interested in it through a friend Anecia Murray, she basically told me everything I needed to know to join. Now I’m working on a little project with S.W.A.R.M. it’s called the Fast Food Fast. I am going 28 days without fast food and soda. I think that it would be an awesome experience. Most people say after you go so many days without it you won’t really need it. I am so up for the challenge ;).
I am a sixteen year old junior who attends Wayne School of Engineering. I was born and raised in Goldsboro, North Carolina. In my spare time, I love to volunteer in my community. I am currently in a group called SWARM (Students Working for an Agricultural Revolutionary Movement). We go many places and we do many things as far as creating healthy food systems and living healthier lives. By doing that, the SWARM team has decided to go on a fast food and soda fast. In addition to that, I am personally giving up pork or any type of pig products including sausage, bacon, pork chops, ribs, etc.
By being in SWARM, this experience has made me realize how easy and affordable it is to create healthy lifestyles and grow your own food. It has also given me the knowledge and tools I need to change the world.
Hello my name is Armniecia Faison. I am 17 years old and I attend Wayne School of Engineering. I just LOVE SWARM. I am learning the value of hard work and I stay learning new things everyday. My favorite part of this experience is meeting new people; its nice to have new friends.
For the Fast Food Challenge, I pledge to stop eating french fries and cupcakes, also to stop drinking soda during the challenge. I am hoping to break bad habits and learn to eat healthier. I know it will be hard to do but I am determined and I know I can get it done.