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J AC K S O N I N N E R - C I T Y G A R D E N E R S ( J I G )

INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Volunteer Impact

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Courageous Men

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Wingfield High School Garden

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Buy JIG Produce 4 Support JIG with 5 good seed JIG’s Wish List

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Farmer Tre’s Letter

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IN THE NEWS

“Field to Fork” video Pulse: Mississippi Business Journal MEET THE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

SEE PAGE 4

Call for Volunteers! Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays SEE PAGE 6

JOIN US! April 21, 2012 Global Youth Service Day RSVP to: erika.roberts @jiggarden.org www.jiggarden.org

Come GROW With Us V O L U M E

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Growing A Healthier Jackson The Jackson Inner-city gardeners (JIG) had another fantastic growing year in 2011, our third one. As JIG’s mission is to create a sustainable food system while developing youth; we did just that. We grew fresh, healthy, produce and made it available at affordable prices to help reduce obesity and the chronic illnesses associated with it, and lower food insecurity. JIG produced over 1,000 pounds of naturally grown, seasonal vegetables (greens, tomatoes, okra, cabbage, squash, eggplant) on the farm, engaged 250 volunteers who served 800 hours, and mentored 12 young men. We shared vegetables with volunteers, sold some, and distributed some to elderly residents in the community. We hosted two national days of service, Martin

Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Global Youth Service Day. JIG was featured in two statewide magazines, published by Mississippi Electric Company and the Pulse:Mississippi Business Journal Winter Issue, and in a video “From Food to Fork”

from a lot adjacent to the JMM, and expanded it at the corner of Medgar Evers Blvd. and W. Northside Dr. in West Jackson. It was hard work clearing three acres and planting first crops, but we did it with volunteer power! JIG is Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) meaning that we follow all the organic principles of growing vegetables and we’re regulated. “Come Grow With US!” Make an impact in the City of Jackson. Here’s how:

produced by Mississippi State University students.

Volunteer Donate supplies/money

Spread the word We are thankful for their supGet connected port of the vision, Dr. Aaron Shirley and the Jackson Medical www.jiggarden.org JigGarden on Facebook Mall (JMM), owner of the 19 acre property, the “Raksha Sethi @jiggarden on Twitter Medical Mall Urban Farm” where we relocated the garden

Growing Healthy Young Men JIG had the pleasure of mentoring 12 young men ages 11 to 21. They spent many Saturdays working in the garden, talking about life issues, learning how to make good decisions and having fun. They learned how to grow their own food, took vegetables home, led volun-

teers, gained valuable work skills and work ethics. While they all made significant contributions to the garden, they also got something from the garden too. We’re especially proud of Jarrett Frierson, whom Farmer Tre’ encouraged, worked with, provided transportation and other re-

sources to help him earn his GED.


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Volunteers Give Back & Make a Difference Volunteers make all the difference! Some 250 volunteers gave 800 Caption describing hours of their time to produce 1,000 picture or graphic. pounds of locally grown fruits and vegetables on a quarter of an acre. The work began with clearing trees and brush from the property owned by the Jackson Medical Mall named the Raksha Sethi Medical Mall Garden. JIG’s faithful volunteer leaders work hard in the garden; these volunteers work two or three Saturdays a month and sometimes throughout the week to maintain the

Grow Local “To catch the reader's attention, place an

interesting sentence or quote from the story here.”

Two Mississippi State University students filmed a video “From Field to Fork” about where we get our food that featured JIG as resource for supplying locally grown food. “People want to know where their food is coming from. They

farm. They put in long hours and back– breaking hours in the summer heat and the winter cold. JIG enjoyed several community groups as well as the many individuals who volunteered in the garden. Volunteers from these organizations worked in the garden:

Belhaven University Holmes Community College

Sister Cooks, Redeemer Church

America Reads Mississippi

Southern Poverty Law Center Jackson State University

Capitol City Rebuilds AmeriCorps, Mayor’s Office

Tougaloo College

Murrah High School

want to be familiar with the farmer,” said Farmer Tre. “… we can feed Jackson, get the young people off the street. They can make money doing things at the garden.

Urban gardening is also about being sustainable, using the resources we have available to us to meet our needs.

They can take produce home to their families. All those things will work together. The more we pour into them, the more they’ll pour into

Courageous Young Men “Friends of JIG” Brent and Kelli Warren from Baton Rouge, LA, sponsored 15 young men to see the movie, “Courageous”. Farmer Tre’ took two groups (including a father and son) to the movie that depicts four men’s journey to faith. When tragedy strikes home, the men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Protecting the streets is second nature. What about raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous. “The movie taught me a lot of things. It showed me that even when people are at their lowest, there is still always hope if we have a relationship with God. I also learned that the things we do affect us COME

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and our families. It showed me that a family with a strong foundation and belief in God can overcome some of the worst things in life,” said LaDouglas Ford, 21, a student at Tougaloo College. “It was important for them to see themselves and their circumstance, and see how important their role is in the family and in society,” said Farmer Tre’.


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Planting Healthy Seeds and Deeds

JIG helps fight childhood obesity. On Global Youth Service Day (GYSD) in April 2011, JIG hosted a community service project, “Planting Healthy Seeds and Deeds” with 60 volunteers. Representatives from the Jackson Medical Mall, Zakiya Summers, and

Beth Hamilton, from the Mayor’s Office, addressed their support of JIG’s efforts to promote healthy eating and living. Volunteers prepped the garden, planted seeds for the spring vege- tables, weeded the berry patch, planted flowers and more. GYSD is an annual campaign that celebrates and mobilizes the millions of youth who improve their communities. Established in 1988, It is the largest service event in the world, celebrated in over 100 countries.

This community day of service was sponsored by UnitedHealthCare, Sodexo and America Reads Mississippi, and supported through our partnership with the Jackson Medical Mall. Thanks to Volunteers from: America Reads Mississippi AmeriCorps, Capital City Rebuilds AmeriCorps and Murrah High School. Thanks to local businesses that made contributions – Revell Ace Hardware in Jackson, Home Depot, Hutto’s Garden Center and Walmart. Click here for pictures.

Gardening Takes Flight at Wingfield High School Farmer Tre’ led students at Wingfield High School to build a vegetable garden in the school courtyard, taught them about food scarcity, and the difference between whole and processed foods, which are a major contributor to the epidemic of obesity in Mississippi and throughout the country. As students worked their garden, Farmer Tre; taught them about composting, plant develop-

ment, and the nutritional advantage of organic gardening. Students and their wonderful Botany teacher used the garden as

SUSTAINABILITY IS KEY TO FUTURE People die younger, need costly medical attention that can drain state/federal budgets, and have For the 5th year, MS is the fattest less quality of life. state with a 40% childhood obesity Mississippi leads the nation in rate, high rate of heart disease and obesity. According to Trust for diabetes, which are chronic diseases America's Health and the Robert associated with obesity. Wood Johnson Foundation, for the Mississippians face several obstacles to creating a healthier population: access to fresh, local produce, food insecurity, and a high rate of childhood obesity.

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an outdoor classroom. Students got hands-on experience amending soil with compost, barnyard manure, and worm casting. They were grossed out at first, but with a chance to get out of the classroom, they were willing to dig in. They used that soil to plant lettuce, onions, carrots, and green peas in raised beds in their courtyard garden. They were very proud of their accomplishments! See Pictures fifth consecutive year, Mississippi has the title for fattest state with a 32% obese population, and the highest rate of overweight and obese children at 44%. Since diet and exercise are the key to eradicating obesity, it is imperative that people eat healthy. This lack of access to healthy foods is a major contributor to the staggering health statistics. Jackson can use its resources to provide healthy food for residents. Join JIG in growing healthy food!


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Selling Produce to the Community Fresh, local produce is coming! JIG will be selling fresh, naturally grown produce at affordable prices from the Raksha Sethi Medical Mall Garden in late Spring and through the Summer on Saturdays at the corner of W. Northside Drive and Medgar Evers Blvd. We will sell your favorite veggies, including, tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and more. JIG plans to host gardening workshops in the Summer and Fall so that people can learn how to plant their own backyard garden to feed their family.

Youth Volunteer of the Year "Learn to do common things uncommonly well; we must always keep in mind that anything that helps fill the dinner pail is valuable."

Seth gave 300 hours of service in 2011. We salute him as

do.” There’s always the same reply, “Okay, I’m ready,” says Seth.

“JIG Volunteer of the Year” Seth Roberts, 15 Sophomore, Clinton High School Future Plans: Large Animal Veterinarian

From driving the tractor, to hauling and scooping chicken manure (organic fertilizer), Seth gives it 110% until the very end. He works hard, has a good attitude, completes tasks, leads other volunteers, and looks forward to doing it again. Why I Garden:

- George Washington Carver

There’s never been a more faithful volunteer than Seth Roberts. He is at the garden with Farmer Tre’ on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and the days in between when the work can’t wait, and the Farmer says “Come on, we have work to COME

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“Gardening at JIG is the way I serve my community. I provide the garden with my work and agricultural skills, but it provides me with much more. It provides me with a productive outlet, physical fitness, and work skills. Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies and I enjoy it very much. Gardening is the thing for me!” said Seth Roberts. He’s looking forward attending a veterinary medicine summer program.


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Support JIG

hoses, plants, tomato sticks, buckets, tubs, etc.,

Website, Facebook, twitter

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We recognize and appreciate our

3. Become a Friend of JIG. Give community partnter: monetary contribution toward the growth and enhancement of Jackson Medical Mall the garden and JIG’s mission. Thanks to individuals, organizations and local businesses for making a differStarter: $100 ence with JIG through contributions: Planter: $500 Builder: $1,000 or more

3. Buy our produce (we will post Please join us in making the vision a sale dates on our coming soon reality. Here are five ways to sow website and at the garden) seeds in this community garden: 5. Tell other businesses, church1. Volunteer in the garden, plantes, individuals and organizations ing, weeding, harvesting or helpabout what we are doing in the ing with special events. community. 2. Donate supplies: shovels, hoes, 6. Get Connected rakes, seeds, soil, wheelbarrows,

UnitedHealthCare Sodexo America Reads Mississippi Hutto’s Garden Center Revell ACE Hardware Home Depot Walmart

Fencing

Signage

Irrigation

Bee equipment

Hoes

Wheel Barrows

Shovels

Seeds

Tiller

Vegetable Plants

Rakes

Tractor

Vegetable scraps

Bee Boxes

Organic Fertilizer

Bagged Leaves

Lawn mower

Van

About JIG

obesity and associated chronic illnesses. Mississippi leads the nation in obesity.

but high economic instability, unemployment, disengaged youth, obesity, and the chronic diseases associated with it.

Detrater Roberts, known as, “Farmer Tre” and Dr. Aaron Shirley, founder of the Jackson Medical Mall, saw a growing need in the community. Many Mississippians do not have access to fresh, affordable fruits and vegetables. This lack of access is directly connected to Mississippi’s high rates of

The Jackson Inner-city Gardeners (JIG) is a nonprofit organization that is creating a sustainable food system through on an urban farm producing naturally-grown, local, produce, while mentoring youth in Jackson, Mississippi. The farm is in a food desert, where there is a lack of availability of fresh produce,

Farmer Tre’ and his wife Erika Roberts founded JIG three years ago. They believe community gardening is a way to bring healthy, affordable produce into the community, a way to create independence, and a way to bridge the gap between generations and transfer knowledge.

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Building a Sustainable Food System While Developing Youth An Urban Community Garden in Jackson, Mississippi

VOLUNTEER TIMES: Tuesdays and Thursdays: 5pm—7pm Saturdays: 8am—11am Jackson Inner-city Gardeners (JIG) Location: Corner of W. Northside Drive and Medgar Evers Blvd. in Jackson, Mississippi Mailing Address: 109 Hillmont Circle

Bring gloves and work shoes. Call Tre’ Roberts to set up a day of service with your organization. We welcome youth and seniors!

Clinton, MS 39056 Visit the website: www.jiggarden.org Like Us: www.facebook.com/jiggarden Follow us: @jiggarden

CONTACT US Phone: 601.924.3539 or 225.287.3159 E-mail: tre.roberts@jiggarden.org Or Erika.roberts@jiggarden.org

A Letter from Farmer Tre’ 2012 has taken off to a great start. The first blessing was for me personally. I was accepted to participate in the Clinton Arrow Meltdown, a 12-week weight loss competition. I work out 5-6 days a week, running, walking, swimming, eating whole foods and lots of vegetables, and feeling on top of the world! Read more about my journey in the next edition.

MLK DAY was a great success with JIG Volunteers, Cub Scouts and Belhaven University students. Read more about it in the next newsletter edition.

We have a great year planned and it will take many volunteers to make this year the best yet.

grandfathers. I know how empowering the ability to grow your own food can be. I invite you to Come GROW with US!

Poor health, food insecurity and lack of access are prevalent issues in areas of Jackson. I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve the community. Three years ago when Dr. Aaron Shirley and I agreed that there should be a comI am so excited about the munity garden in West Jackson to 2012 growing season in the gar- give local residents more access to den, the community, in the lives fresh produce, we didn’t know how of our volunteers, and youth far this would go. mentees. I grew up farming with my


JIG's First Newsletter