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Reflecting on H.O.P.E. Gardens’ Vision for 2024

From the desk of Julie Brunson:

As I sit here by the garden, contemplating our goals for H.O.P.E. Gardens in 2024, I find myself drawn back to our mission and vision, and the remarkable progress we have made thus far. While strategic plans and goals are undeniably crucial, it is the heartfelt moments that linger in my mind—the faces of children beaming with joy as they discover something new in the classroom or amidst the lush greenery of the garden.

I see the kind and loving faces of our dedicated team members, passionately imparting the knowledge and enthusiasm for growing food to these children. The image of young students munching on unfamiliar foods, giving us a resounding thumbs up when asked how they liked it, brings a smile to my face. Equally heartwarming are the sideways glances or thumbs-down reactions, reminding us that we are broadening their horizons and presenting them with choices and opportunities.

I am reminded of the stories shared by parents who have been inspired to start their own home gardens due to the excitement their children bring home from our school garden. The thought of all the future food that will be grown by the hands of these students, who have learned the invaluable skill of nurturing a seed, fills me with hope.

I envision a world where these students, with their newfound knowledge, will share what they have learned in the communities they will live in. I imagine a happier planet where the next generation understands the importance of caring for our soil and preserving our Earth. I dream of school, home, and community gardens where people come together, sharing not only food but also their experiences, forging connections over something as simple and profound as growing food.

As we carefully craft our goals for 2024, we will keep the ‘why’ at the forefront of our minds. H.O.P.E. Gardens—Helping Other People Eat—is not merely about growing food; it is about nurturing minds, fostering compassion, and cultivating a sustainable future. Our mission and vision will guide us as we work to create a world where everyone has access to fresh, healthy food, and where the act of growing food serves as a catalyst for positive change.

Together, let us sow the seeds of hope, resilience, and togetherness in the hearts and minds of our students, as we embark on another year of empowering communities and transforming lives through the power of gardens.

With gratitude,
Julie Brunson