What is the Soul and Soul Initiative?

Soul and Soul Initiative is a collaboration between Karen Gordon of Garden City Jazz and Carla Walker of One Woman Veteran.

Together, we have a unique opportunity (at the intersection of art, agriculture and technology) to bring individuals and organizations together in a way that’ll transform the way our city and culture connects with food.

By facilitating the work of emerging independent grassroots organizations, we will provide a platform for creators, makers, food justice advocates, and young people to connect and engage — directly with policy makers.

Far too often, when policymakers and funders want to hear from the minority communities, they find themselves talking to highly paid corporate lobbyists.

And the reason is simple — socially & economically disadvantaged minority groups don’t have the capacity locally to engage.

Corporate and grassroots interests rarely align.

Our stories matter, but often fall on deaf ears. And for that reason, WE ARE HERE.

PROBLEM…

every innovation exists to solve a problem — changemakers.org

The problem that we are addressing is LACK in South Richmond County… Merriam-Webster defines lack as “the state of being without or not having enough of something.”

Dictionary.com says “ deficiency or absence of something needed, desirable, or customary”…

lack of community engagement, absence of healthy food options, deficiency of farmer-run markets in South Augusta, which is where the farms are, and the scarcity of platforms from which to address these challenges.

Why should we fix it? We fix it, because if we don’t, then we will always live in a food desert, even if there are oases across town.

The soul of Augusta remains marginalized, and the soil remains dormant.

We fix it from the inside out, because, a community without sustainable internal resources remains broken.

We fix US because, even if we are living in someone else’s oasis… with no understanding of how to create our own, then we are STILL in the desert. (hold me somebody!)

SOLUTION….

The Soul & Soil Initiative will facilitate those important conversations in three phases: a series of gatherings, a educational symposium, and a community festival.

Phase One: The Southern Supper Club dinner party series will be hosted in homes and creative spaces in South Augusta and will connect policy makers with artists, advocates, and growers, in a relaxed and intimate setting — where all can engage in dialogue.

Phase Two: We Are Here: The Symposium.. is a 5-Day Workshop for middle and high schoolers, focusing on the importance and impact of civic engagement and community development, addressing issues that impact our youth.

Phase Three: Soil, Soul, and Society. The Team will organize, plan, and host a Heritage Festival, a celebration in and of South Richmond County.

Now, that sounds like A LOT. It is. And it would be overly ambitious except for this one thing. The tools and resources needed to execute are already right here in our midst. The natural resources, the land, the soil, is right here in South Augusta. The human resources, the people, the soul, is right here in this room. We just need your help to build upon the work that we are already doing.

We need to make the Greater Augusta River Region & beyond aware of the richness in South Augusta.

We need partners for this journey. We are not new to the work. We will continue the community service and relationship building because it is not just what we do. It’s who we are.

We are One Woman Veteran. (stand please) … We are Winning In Augusta (stand). . We are Addersons Farm… We are Pop-Up Augusta! … We are Humanitree House … We are Urban Grange Farm … We are League of Women Voters …. We are 2nd Saturday Community Breakfast … We are Savannah Riverkeeper… We are The First Tee of Augusta…Macaroni Kid… the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce…

Lock & Dam Park, Diamond Lakes, Cambridge, Manchester, Pepperidge, Apple Valley, BelleMeade, Sand Ridge, Butler Creek, Henry Brigham Center, Gracewood, Green Meadows, Lombard Mill Pond, Spirit Creek Forest, Butler, Glenn Hills, Hephzibah High, Jamestown, Southside Elementary, Morgan Road, Pine Hill Middle Schools, Augusta Tech, TCM Magnet School, Jackie M’s, Road Runner, Sconyers BBQ, Villa Europa, T’s, Jamaica Way

We are here. Join us.