Nickels for Neighbors

ACC congregations are encouraged to collect coins in their Sunday School classes, Bible Studies, or services, primarily as a way to encourage giving among our children. These donations will be collected at ACC’s Annual Assembly on October 27 at Akron Mennonite Church.


The 2018 ACC Nickels For Neighbors grant will be given to the Radical Living Urban Youth Garden. Radical Living is a 501c3 community organization that serves the young people of the Bedford- Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Jason and Vonetta Storbakken have created this ministry to educate, equip and inspire young people in Bedford- Stuyvesant to understand urban farming and work toward environmental justice, all through a faith-based (Anabaptist-influenced) lens.

The Radical Living Urban Youth Garden partners with local congregations to use their green space and kitchen to teach young people how to grow and prepare their own food. Recently, Radical Living has been granted a large community garden by the City of New York. This garden is conveniently located near a host church (Calvary AME Church). The work begins in early March and continues until early November, and consists of two parts.

 

The first part consists of gardening, visiting other neighborhood gardens, and Brooklyn Grange, the world’s largest rooftop soil farm! We build and paint garden boxes, germinate seeds, and plant strawberries, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and much more. During this time, young people are introduced to social justice organizing terms, historical figures and movements, as well as stories from Scripture that relate to urban gardening, justice work, and community building.

The second part consists of kitchen activities. We make jam, chocolate zucchini  bread, homemade pasta and pesto, pickles, and other recipes depending on what is growing! During this time, young people learn about healthy food choices, how to read food labels, and are introduced to enriching physical activities and mindfulness exercises that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety and increase a sense of peace and purpose. Toward the end of the growing season we will take a field trip to Freedom Farm, which is owned and operated by two people who are former members of Manhattan Mennonite Fellowship (and former Menno House residents).

Our program has significant impact and importance in Bedford-Stuyvesant for several reasons. People of color in Bedford-Stuyvesant are disproportionately impacted by economic, health, and environmental disparities. By engaging, educating, and equipping youth, we are able to support their development as they make healthy life choices and positively impact the broader community through creating green spaces and developing sustainability projects.

 

Resources:

  1. N4N 2018 Can or Bucket Label: print, cut, and paste this label to a children’s bucket or a can for coin collection.
  2. Promotional Powerpoint to show in congregations

Nickles for Neighbors funds will be collected at the 2018 Annual Assembly Celebration, October 27  at Akron Mennonite Church