Civic Groups: A network of people coming together to help their community. Non-profits/activist/social justice organizations. May seek alternatives to current systems of subsistence that transform marginalized areas into productive outlets for community resilience.
Civic Groups Spotlight: Green Team Farm Project
by Hannah Nelson
“Demonstrate an environmentally progressive mindset not as a sacrifice but a way to increase quality of life.” – James Loomis
On a chilly February day I ventured out to see what more I could learn about Utah’s world of community resilience. I found myself speaking to the lively James Loomis, the farm director of the Green Team Farm Project. I met him at a location in Sugarhouse, where Loomis and his team were transporting material to build an aquaponic system on the farm. Everyone seemed in good spirits, and Loomis continued working seamlessly while kindly answering my inquiries. The Green Team Farm’s physical location is in downtown Salt Lake City, on land owned by the Redevelopment Agency of SLC. The Green Team Farm Project is one of the many programs associated with Wasatch Community Gardens. In this case Wasatch Community Gardens partnered with the Downtown Alliance and Advantage Services to create an unlikely utopia.
The Green Team Farm Project employs women facing homeless to participate in a 10 month program, which introduces them to a myriad of educational opportunities from growing organic produce to practical job skills. This program intends to take back unused urban land and transform it into productive places that cultivate empowered spirits and rejuvenated urban spaces. A large part of the Green Team Farm Project is nourishing the lives of the women that become participants in the program. There is a lot more than just growing vegetables on this farm, which becomes very evident when speaking to Loomis.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to wants to be doing something and everyone should have the opportunity to be involved,” Loomis said when describing some of this project’s goals. The Green Team Farm Project is an avenue for those who have found themselves on the outskirts of society to return to meaningful work. As Loomis describes it we are living in a time when human work is painted as inefficient, yet when people do not have opportunities to be their own producers it is unhealthy for our society. Projects like The Green Team Farm introduce ways of living that focus on the health of people and the environment, instead of feeding into a capitalist paradigm that is willing to shove humans to the wayside for profit.
I asked Loomis what activities can lead to stronger community resilience. “The key to resilience is decentralized production of energy and resources” was Loomis’ response. Loomis has the idea that a switch from being strictly consumers to being, at the very least, partial producers is vital in reclaiming personal and societal power. There is proof in the efficacy of this idea in the work being done on the farm. Women that are facing homelessness find solace and revitalization by becoming their own producers, a way out of a system that has not served them well in the past into their own “mojo,” as Loomis would call it. ⚘
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