BUILDING A REVOLUTION IN URBAN FARMING
Cherry Street Farm & lab
Hip hop is — transformation.
Let’s create Cherry Street Farms in all cities.
Imagine if environmentally and psychologically safe spaces were a way of life. Think about other ways of life like waiting for the bus or an Uber, streaming Netflix shows, getting ready for school, and pursuing a dream. Maybe you have routines like playing music during Sunday chores, getting groceries, or putting kids to bed. If you’re a grandparent, remember preparing dinner for your grandbabies — and making sure they take their shoes off at the door.
Within a generation, we want “I’m going to Cherry Street” to be a common expression, too — and an important way of life across America. Cherry Street Farm is a hydroponic farm and educational lab at the heart of Seattle’s Central District — home to predominately African-American communities and the city’s historic Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Our goal: We want every city in America, starting with marginalized communities, to have their own Cherry Street Farms.
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MAKE A $20 MONTHLY CONTRIBUTION TO HELP US REACH OUR GOALS FOR ALL OF OUR INITIATIVES.
Climate changemaker lab
Walk through Cherry Street Farm, and you’ll pass rows of raised garden beds brimming with soil, a 40 foot shipping container housing a hydroponic lab soaked in colorful LED light, an outdoor classroom, and a demonstration kitchen with leafy, organic food next to a pizza oven. Here, we immerse young climate changemakers from our Youth Excellence Program in innovative and interactive learning. Cherry Street Farm teaches young Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) about climate change, hydroponic farming, soil testing, plant-based recipes that are culturally relevant, food distribution for their communities, and broader environmental justice. They also learn entrepreneurship, green career pathways, and healthy lifestyles — and improve their physical and mental health by connecting with nature in the process. The lab combines ways of life rooted in hip hop culture and ancestry. Many young people from BIPOC communities don’t know that their ancestors and relatives were once avid farmers, for example. With teaching styles grounded in hip hop, young people learn the connection between the food they eat, their community, and the environment. They walk into Cherry Street Farm with minimal knowledge about climate change, and they leave climate changemakers.
Community climate refuge
When we healthily feed young people and the plants they grow, we also nourish the soul of surrounding communities. Like “climate havens” you read about that shelter people from the destructive impacts of climate change, Cherry Street Farm also provides nutritional and emotional refuge for BIPOC community members of all ages. The farm distributes healthy, organic food to local restaurants, hospitals, schools, and small businesses year-round — especially in low-income communities struggling with food insecurity and gentrification. The farm is also a gathering place where community members can show up as they are and gain meaningful connection. With 90% of residents in urban areas battling lifelong trauma, providing a supportive community is one of many important paths to healing. Community members volunteer, become leaders in their community, and learn about plant-based food from young climate changemakers in their families. Together, we reimagine what fighting climate change actually requires: equitable food systems, holistic wellness, and education rooted in the lived experiences of communities.
Climate change resistance
Fighting climate change is an act of resistance that harmonizes with hip hop’s revolutionary demands for social change. Communities of color are three times more likely to develop health conditions because of systemic barriers to climate resilience. Climate change increases hunger and poor nutrition, among many other effects. That’s why in addition to an educational lab, Cherry Street Farm has a hydroponic lab that’s making our communities — and the planet — healthier. Also known as “Greenery S,” this hydroponic growing chamber — housed in converted shipping containers — is only 320 square feet and can grow about two acres of food. This food is healthy, pesticide-free — and feeds local communities year-round. Labs like “Greenery S” can be scaled to meet the needs of growing urban populations. Their high-tech, efficient systems also ensure food production’s resilience against droughts, floods, and pests that result from climate change. As a whole, Cherry Street Farm conserves water and other resources, runs on clean electricity, beautifies public space, leaves behind a small carbon footprint, and produces zero pollution. By creating more of these farms in cities across America, we’re also taking a public stand — advocating for climate change solutions that fight systemic racism.