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  • This Great Big Story was made possible by Wells Fargo, established 1852, re-established 2018.

  • This is a story about a dinner.

  • But not just any dinner. This is a dinner that involves this kitchen, with these cooks.

  • And this garden, with these gardeners.

  • It's a center that's helping a community fight homelessness in a big way.

  • San Francisco has a large population of homeless people.

  • Just last year, over 4,000 homeless people were reported unsheltered - and over 6,000 unemployed.

  • Enter Farming Hope.

  • A non-profit created to help those in need by training them in urban farming, and cooking, in the hopes of helping them find full-time employment.

  • Joining us from the Farming Hope initiative is Jamie, Kevin, and Asha.

  • We just wanted to be the organizers to piece this knowledge together of how do we grow food and cook it in a way that opens up our food system,

  • that gets people the job, and the training that they need and want.

  • So what we do is we recruit folks who are experiencing homelessness to join the Farming Hope community and put our mission into action.

  • But for this to work, participants have to learn the true meaning of farm-to-table.

  • So the first step is in the garden with Asha.

  • My role is to help facilitate the employees in the garden.

  • So since we just planted this one, maybe we won't harvest it.

  • But we can harvest from the rooftop garden.

  • We water, we're also growing new plants, so we're putting seeds in the ground.

  • We harvest every week for the kitchen.

  • Kevin uses these in his tacos.

  • And so being here and encouraging them.

  • Beautiful.

  • To get back in touch with themselves just as much as learning about gardening,

  • I think is important.

  • Then once the produce is grown, it's off to the kitchen with Kevin.

  • My role in the kitchen is to facilitate a lot of the hands-on training that we're doing with our transitional homeless folks.

  • We do a lot of stuff from knife basics, time management, cleanliness, stuff that can be directly transferable to other jobs, either in food or not in food.

  • I'm always really inspired by the people that we're working with, 'cause they're the ones that really dedicate themselves to the work.

  • They're here; they're putting in 110 percent, so I think our folks really deserve a lot of the applause.

  • And finally, the team gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

  • Each week, they serve up a meal to both homeless, and non-homeless people.

  • So for tonight's menu, we started off with a roasted butternut squash taco.

  • The second taco, that's a stewed zucchini.

  • The last taco is a fried rockfish taco.

  • And then lastly for desert, we're serving a vegan chocolate mousse.

  • And while for some eating is the best part, for Philip, it's the experience.

  • I was homeless for almost six months for the very first time in my life.

  • I was introduced to Farmers Hope.

  • - So I learned a whole lot. - Can you smell it, it smells like lemons a little bit.

  • Right.

  • It kept me there thinking about my life.

  • So when I'm there, I have peace.

  • They gave me a new place to go.

  • I think the most unique part of Farming Hope is gathering people from distinct walks of life to break bread together, and just be next to each other.

  • Not every moment of our life has to be about fixing everything, and it actually has to start from that place of empathy, of awareness, of neighborliness.

  • And by involving everybody at the same level on a dining table, it allows us to open the space up to actual dialogue, actual empathy, actual solutions.

This Great Big Story was made possible by Wells Fargo, established 1852, re-established 2018.

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Helping the Homeless Through Farm-to-Table Training

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/03/30
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