As part of the revitalization of Well House, and in the spirit of its founder Miriam Clements, Well House is once again in the early stages of growing food and promoting food justice.
Camilla and I are the urban farmers/food justice educators and our vision so far is to grow food for the tenets here at Well House, provide fresh food or the capacity to grow fresh food with our neighbors, sell excess produce at area farmers markets and some locally owned restaurants that support food justice.
We have been busy in the greenhouse seeding over a thousand plants, building raised beds and planting fruit trees and bushes at the Well House properties, thus promoting an ecologically diverse environment and an edible landscape.
Besides growing food with tenets at the Well House, we plan to can as many items as possible to provide fresh produce throughout the year and to promote canning skills as a method of self-reliance.
We will be teaching residents how to can, but we also will be providing canning classes for anyone interested as part of the food justice education work that we are committed to.
In addition to the canning classes, we have offered an edible landscaping and mushroom log inoculation workshop. We began our classes by offering a food justice workshop, not only because we are committed to the philosophy of food justice, but because all our work is grounded in the principles of food justice.
Food justice seeks to ensure that the benefits and risks of where, what, and how food is grown, produced, transported, distributed, accessed and eaten are shared fairly. Food justice represents a transformation of the current food system, including but not limited to eliminating disparities and inequities.
However, our long-term goal is to promote food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is a maturation of food justice in that it embraces the idea that we should all have a say in the kind of food system we want. Food sovereignty is both a principle and a movement initiated by the international small farmers group, Via Campesina.
Lastly, we want our food growing and food justice to be about relationships, relationships with the tenets at Well House, the neighborhood and the larger community. Already we have seen an interest in the work being done from neighbors and we hope that those relationships will not only result in the growth of fresh food, but the growth of a truly sustainable community in the southeast part of Grand Rapids.