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We are Truly Living Well

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Julia R., Writers

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On October 21, current eighth graders had the opportunity to serve at Truly Living Well, an Atlanta-based non-profit that is committed to growing food, community, and people. The original purpose of Truly Living Well was to bring nutritionally-rich, fresh-picked produce to local residents through a community-supported agriculture program. The non-profit has subsequently expanded its objectives to include agricultural education and urban farmer training programs.

Founded in 2006, the organization has since grown to four farm sites and increased the number of staff from two to almost 40. Truly Living Well has trained hundreds in urban agriculture practices and created jobs and opportunities for numerous people in the greater Atlanta community.

Last spring, seventh grade students were eager to participate in a service project that would assist the organization. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the students were not able to go and the trip was postponed. This fall, as eighth graders, the students finally got to see this organization first hand.

This year, 200 eighth graders were able to help Truly Living Well, during an on-site service project on Oct. 21. Eighth grade girl Elle S. enjoyed the service project. “My job was to shovel mulch, and I liked it because I could see the positive effect my work was making on the garden. I also enjoyed spending time with my friends and learning about the garden. I would love to serve at Truly Living Well again.”

Lara J., an eighth grade girl also liked the project. “I had fun working with my friends, and I thought it was nice to be able to support and help my community,” she said.

The service project was the result of Westminster’s partnership with Truly Living Well, and a cumulative effort from The Glenn Institute, Ms. Callie Crabb, Emily and Joey Jarrell, and Truly Living Well. Ms. Crabb, the Director of The Glenn Institute explained that the project began to formulate last year when The Glenn Institute launched a multi-year initiative on food.

“The Glenn Institute wanted to understand the farm to table movement that is happening here in Atlanta. We wanted to understand food insecurity as it relates to our city. Food deserts are rampant, and having access to healthy, nutritious foods is actually a huge problem for many of the citizens here. We also wanted to talk about food heritage and food philanthropy and how the agriculture industry is giving back. Through part of that research process, we came across Truly Living Well,” Ms. Crabb said.

However, the direct connection to the non-profit came from the Jarrells, as they had worked with the organization in the past and had notified The Glenn Institute that Truly Living Well was impressive. After that, The Glenn Institute went out to meet the organization and has since been working with them, creating a partnership that has benefitted Truly Living Well and Westminster students alike.

Ms. Crabb recalls how the project was created. “Through partnering with them, we found out that they were moving their space as a result of their garden in Old Fourth Ward’s lease closing. The organization obtained land in on the Westside and decided they were going to pick up their entire garden space and move it, which is a huge process. They said that they needed lots of hands to come and help them develop the new space, which is where we came in.”

Students helped by mulching the orchards and beautifying the space. They were also able to tour the garden. The students enjoyed learning about the intricacies of urban agriculture, such as composting and other techniques employed by the organization.

The Glenn Institute plans to work with Truly Living Well on future projects, says Crabb. “One thing that we are really excited about with this partnership is that there’s a lot of work to do. Truly Living Well has been an amazing community partner, and they’re extremely collaborative and creative in their ideas, so I think this will be a very beneficial long-term partnership.”

The project eighth graders participated in was a launching point for a more extensive and in-depth relationship with the non-profit. Currently, seventh and eighth graders in the architecture course offered by Westminster are working with Truly Living Well to build a tree house. There is also talk of a future project that involves creating a transportable music wall that Truly Living Well can utilize for educational endeavors the organization undertakes.

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We are Truly Living Well