This Woman Built 17 Gardens for Her Community and Isn’t Stopping!

EnvironmentEnvironmental Racism / IntersectionalityFood InsecurityGrowing FoodHealthy, Happy LivingPositive Change StoriesSustainable Living

In a world where the thought of creating meaningful change seems staggering and  insurmountable, one young woman born and raised in Hudson, NY is re-framing the way small changes  can create a lasting ripple effect in local communities. Meet Nkoula Badila, an empowered social activist,  artist and gardener, Nkoula saw clearly the need for sustainable change in her neighborhood as well as the  opportunity for her to step forward in the role of a teacher, leader and guide. Her vision, which was  originally created and maintained by just her alone, has now affected the lives of many families in  Hudson, NY.  

How is she doing it? Nkoula is using the simple aspect of raised garden beds to raise the  awareness and empowerment of food sovereignty for black families through her movement called Grow Black Hudson. With over ten years of gardening experience, she saw the importance to return back home  in honor of educating those in her original community of something so simple, yet so profoundly life  altering. She began her journey of this vision with starting a fundraiser to gain traction, attention and  interest. At first her needs were very little, being as resourceful as possible, but shortly after she started to  see others getting excited about her project, and the funds to expand Grow Black Hudson came through in  supporting her vision exponentially.  

Through the Grow Black Hudson movement, Nkoula is now working hands on with members in  her community, not just building the beds for them, but showing them exactly how to build the raised  beds, how to tend to their gardens, and how to share the joy and abundance of nature. This small action on  her end has created over seventeen raised beds, a multitude of smiles, and endless bonding experiences  for everyone involved. She is delighted to see the excitement in the families who’ve never experienced  gardening before, she watches as they share their produce with neighbors, and create delicious family  meals from the produce they source within their backyard-bound beds.  

Her mission doesn’t just end with fresh and juicy produce! She has also created a ripple effect of  bringing awareness and understanding to the community on what it not only looks like, but what it feels  like to have food sovereignty right within their reach. Nkoula loves to share her wisdom of the importance  of growing your own food, and how self-sufficiency can be used as a weapon to retaliate against  processed food that does harm on a micro level of the body and local community and on the macro level  of the environment. Even families who have never been introduced to these concepts are openly receiving  her guidance and enjoying the health and abundance of caring for their gardens. 

 A strong belief that Nkoula holds within her heart is that all people deserve access to fresh and  organic food, and even more so, everyone has a right to the knowledge of growing fresh food for  themselves, their families and their neighbors. Her mission of creating the raised beds is the beginning of  the road to food sovereignty and sustainable awareness for Hudson, NY, as it teaches just how accessible  and realistic this goal is. Nkoula knows that the wisdom and medicine of the plants provide much more to  her community than a good time and delicious food, she also acknowledges the ways of their ancestors,  their innate connection to the earth, and the ways in which these bonding experiences heal and nurture  from within. One raised bed at a time, Nkoula is on a path to food sovereignty and sustainability, and she  is taking the rest of Hudson with her! 

This article was written by Deanna Amodeo.

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Thank you to Guerrilla Foundation for funding this video of solutions.

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