This year for World Food Day I decided to spotlight the non-profit organization SOW Collective. The mission of SOW Collective is to grow sustainable communities. The organization focuses on creating a safe space for communities to collaborate to create home-grown solutions to sustainability issues.
The SOW Collective consists of a team of four amazing women: Steph, Madi, Christina and Haley. I had the privilege of spotlighting and featuring one of the founders of the organization Steph.
Could you tell me your background and what made you decide to start SOW Collective?
As a human rights activist, I have dedicated my studies and professional career to joining nonprofits that goal is to improve education and influence leadership amongst our youth. I wanted to merge my love for environmental advocacy with education. As a former educator, I knew that afterschool programs are a wonderful supplement to the learning that continues outside the classroom. I wanted SOW to be this space that provided a safe haven for students. As a team, we also noticed the need for more innovative ideas in the consumer world as we sought to define sustainability in a way that would make it accessible to all people. Working for the restaurant industry also helped shape my views surrounding food and plastic waste. Including my Corporate responsibility is one of our areas of focus. Change starts individually but it also gets put into action as a community when we understand that businesses couldn’t run without us. Through local policy, we can hold corporations accountable for their production and manufacturing pollution in our cities.
In what ways does SOW Collective help individuals and the overall community?
Community is at our core. We believe strongly in empowering and providing access right here in the San Fernando Valley. As a Backyard Farm, we work to bring people together and reconnect them with the land and where their food comes from. We provide fresh, organic farm-to-table ingredients that families can use in their meals at no cost. Youth especially have been so curious about the farm, and we absolutely love having them visit to discover bugs, and even where a pickle comes from! Our biggest tool is an open gate and the connections we make with each neighbor. We have so much more positive impact planned as well!
Does Sow Collective have any new and upcoming projects?
Oh yes! As only an 8-month-old grassroots organization, we have a full load of work and projects in store. We are incorporating a 3 bin composting system into our backyard farm, and this will allow us to be a hub for waste mitigation and a center to teach community members about the value of their food scraps. This will allow us to produce our own rich, living soil to regenerate our farm. This is coming late November, and we are very excited to welcome more visitors into our space.
This month, we are also doing a neighborhood cleanup before the LA rains come and wash a lot of our trash out to the ocean. We will also be delivering winter veggies and seed packets to our neighbors so that they too can grow their own food! Our backyard farm will be getting a winter revamp in early November, so if anyone would like to volunteer and help us plant, please head over to sowcollective.org and fill out our volunteer form 🙂
What are SOW Collective’s next goals?
Collective: 2021 has lots in store for use, we are excited to be utilizing these uncertain times due to the pandemic to plan ahead as we envision a world where all students have the support they need to become successful environmental leaders.
Fall 2021 is looking promising as we are working alongside a phenomenal environmental teacher to introduce a hands-on curriculum for High School students to immerse them in the versatile world of environmental advocacy and leadership, as well as Regenerative Agriculture. We hope to install a school farm for the students to participate in, learn from, and acquire job skills and training. We are teaming up to bring Ms. Richard’s vision of a Global Leadership Magnet Academy to life for the enhanced education of our future leaders.
How is Sow Collective participating in World Food Day?
The weekend following we will be at our backyard farm handing out free, organic produce for families, connecting with community members and youth, and even stocking excess produce into our local community fridge! Food access, especially healthy and nutritious food access, is such an important foundation to any community. From here, we can dive further into sustainable practices and focus on making the future a better, healthier, more connected place for all.