Sometimes, the best way to get in touch with nature is to get your hands dirty! That’s why activist, artist, and farmer, Isa Jamira (@theartistactivistfarmer), wants to get people excited about community gardening. Isa works at a community garden in New York City, teaching city dwellers about nutrition, composting, and growing their own food. She hopes that her work will not only get people more excited about farming, but will encourage them to fight back against climate change.
Isa first got excited about urban farming while working towards a degree in environmental studies. “The curriculum within my environmental studies department seemed to favor scholars that didn’t really have anything to do with me,” she tells In The Know. “It wasn’t until I started to focus on food that I started to see representation from people from my own community and people that cared about things that I care about as it relates to the environment.”
While still in college, Isa began interning at an urban farm, and never looked back. Eventually, interning at the urban farm led her to get involved with community gardening. “From all the urban farms that I worked, there was always an educational component to them,” she recalls. “I went into the educator sphere within farming and eventually gravitated towards community gardens.”
Community gardening allows Isa to connect with the community—and with nature, itself. “The nature of community gardens is to mitigate climate change,” she explains. “[They’re] the actual physical location where carbon sequestration is happening, and then also being an informational hub within a community where people can come and learn how to grow food, or how to compost, and how to take care of themselves.”
Isa hopes to teach visitors to the community garden that the fight against climate change is not a hopeless one. “We have options. We have autonomy over the things that we choose to do,” she says. [We can] ignore all the signs about climate change or act in a way where you realize that something needs to change.”
She also wants to get visitors more excited about nature in general. “I always love giving people things from the garden and seeing their reactions and sharing, because there’s so much to give,” Isa explains. “I just see myself as a middleman between them and the earth, ultimately, and I think it’s just a great stepping stone for them to appreciate this stuff so much more, and see why there needs to be more places like this.”
One day, Isa hopes that the rest of the world sees the need for community gardens. She wants the community gardening movement to grow and thrive, and to get more people interested in growing their own food. “We want to see this industry grow,” she says. “We want to see more green spaces and growing spaces, and we want to create more opportunities for young farmers within the city to flourish.”
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