Mission Moment: Kay Coleman, Urban Gardens Manager

Mission Moments are stories we share from the field to inform, inspire and motivate. These moments remind us all just how lucky we are to be able to do this important work.

Q. So Kay, the Mission Moment began with you, didn’t it?

A. Yes, I was a part of a leadership cohort through a Triangle Community Foundation Capacity Building grant. It was a group of interesting people working in nonprofits all over the Triangle. Someone suggested the Mission Moment as a way to keep each other informed about our work and the communities we interact with. So now the Food Shuttle has Mission Moments at our staff meetings, board meetings, and now this blog.

Q. Do you have a recent moment you would like to share?

A. I do! And it happened just this last weekend. There is a lot of interest these days around community gardens, and I get a lot of requests from groups who want a mentor to help them get up and running.

I was contacted by a group of 12 women from the Braggtown neighborhood in Durham, and Saturday was construction day on 3 raised beds for them. Mind you, the manager of this group is an 82-year-old who showed up, set up her table, and started signing in volunteers! She was just awesome.

As we started work neighbors were driving by and strolling by and they would call out “what are y’all doing over there?” When we told them we were setting up a garden a lot of them asked if they could lend a hand. By the time we were building the frames for the raised beds, men passing by were saying “hold on a minute, I’m going to run home and get my drill!” When all was said and done, we ended the day with twice as many volunteers as we started with … it was amazing.

Q. How will remembering this story inform your future work?

A. People are just so excited to be able to lend a hand and bring positive changes into their neighborhoods. All they need is the opportunity, and they will come together to build something meaningful and lasting.

Kay teaching two volunteers from Sunrise Recovery Center about gardening

Kay teaching two volunteers from Sunrise Recovery Center about gardening