406: Nika Forte on Farming for the Under-Served.
Managing an urban farm for families in poverty or homeless.
Nika is the Urban Farm Manager for St. Vincent de Paul where she creates programming and community engagement events. Her job also includes managing community members who volunteer time at the Urban Farm, growing, processing and distributing freshly grown vegetables to the homeless community and needy families that they provide service for. Her role in the program is to improve food access and food security in under-served communities.
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In This Podcast:
Being a single mother trying to provide nutritious options for her children in a food desert gave St. Vincent de Paul’s Urban Farm manager Nika Forte a great understanding and compassion for the people she serves. She shares with her belief that food should nourish the body, mind and spirit with her clientele as she encourages them to reconnect with where their food comes from as they are being helped by the many services of St. Vincent de Paul.
Listen in and learn about:
- Nika’s path from Corporate America to St. Vincent de Paul’s Urban Farm Manager
- How she was motivated by the scarcity of fresh food as she raised her young children
- How working in the garden gave one man a sense of peace and purpose
- What is grown in the gardens of St Vincent de Paul
- How she preps the soil in her garden beds
- How her first failure in the gardens made her the gardener she is today
- Which book Nika reads regularly that always motivates her and gets her back on track
As well as:
Her failure – When she first started farming she thought “I’m going to kill it!” The first 2 weeks she literally killed about 100 plants!
Her success – Really involving communities that hadn’t really thought about farming. The homeless can find a place of peace and to learn and to give back to nature.
Her drive – Nika experienced living in a food desert and didn’t eat the healthiest. When she changed her diet she changed her life. “I can change my life and help others change theirs too. It’s never too late. “
Her advice – Don’t be afraid to fail. Just go for it. Reach our great community of urban farmers in the Phoenix area and collaborate!
Nika’s Book recommendations:
How to reach Nika:
To learn more about more about Growing Your Own Food
And to see the I’m an Urban Farmer line
Note: You can also find these books mentioned above at one of our favorite local independent bookstores and have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a small business.