You can grow your own food. We can help.

Caring about the Big Picture

May 29, 2014

Ray was born in the deep country in Alabama in the 1950’s. His family grew all their own food and raised their own meat. One of 10 children, at age 4 Ray began carrying water to the large garden that sustained his family. “It was hard work,” he says. “We ate healthy, but we didn’t realize that at the time.”

When he was 10, Ray’s family moved to northern Illinois where his father and older brothers found work in the town factory. Removed from the land and the practice of growing their own food, the family’s eating lifestyle changed radically. Looking back, Ray sees this shift as one of the worst things that ever happened to him and his family. “We all got sick. All kinds of things: high blood pressure; high cholesterol; cancer; diabetes.”

Three years ago, Ray got involved in the healthy food work at Hope Community, located in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. It was his first return to the garden in more than 40 years. Last year, he began growing tomatoes and peppers in a 5-gallon pail on his apartment balcony; this year he shares a plot in a community garden at Hope.

At a community meeting, Ray spoke about his experience with people new to Hope’s work with food, health, and community: “When I started caring about myself, I started caring about other things, too – I started caring about other people, about my community.”

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