Healing in the In Between

Community building is like waves that regress and digress on a shoreline. Never knowing where the start or finish is, our work is never resolved. Our efforts are less about perfection and better described as a continuum of trying with…

What Do We Owe One Another?

Long before the coronavirus, Johnnie Jackson (Marion City Schools) and I began wondering how friendship and principles of belonging could heal, repair, and restore communities. Now more than ever we ground ourselves in the meaningful work of collective care, being…

Turning to One Another

In this time of panic and era of uncertainty, we are tempted more than ever to believe in the lie of staying busy.  Self-improvement projects. The rush to break a news story on social media. The not so subtle nudges…

Heal, Repair, Restore: A Story of Land Reuse & Community Empowerment

The smoke from incense swirled around the porch. Herbs and a lavender plant waned from the summer heat. The rocking chairs beneath us creaked as neighbors came and went, some stopping by only briefly to exchange meals and others staying…

Elevating Equity through Food, Faith, and Fellowship

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss…

Working Together for Change

Over the years and through the activities of various workgroups, partners in Marion County have learned that no single policy, government department, organization, or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex problems faced by our community. Too often organizations…

Community Engagement in an Era of Complexity

What do we know about our history? Americans love work. In 1880 about 80 percent of paid workers produced goods. Since then we’ve measured our very well being by the product of our work: the gross national product.  If it goes up,…

Example of a map showing concentration of poverty and where nutrition education is being offered through SNAP-Ed

Train tracks, bridges, and waterways are common landmarks on a map that divide neighborhoods from one another and for many residents,  determine whether they have access to affordable, healthy food. One resident describes that even though there are “free food…

Delivering Fresh to Reduce Health Disparities

Historically, health promotion efforts have overlooked people with disabilities (PWD). More often than not, providers and educators focus solely on a person’s disability rather than on the full range of health. This leads to worse health outcomes for PWD when…

Save Money on Groceries this Summer: Grow Your Own Food

1 in 4 children in Marion County are food insecure. Food banks and pantries pass out food to help these families put meals on the table but what if they could also teach residents how to grow their own food?…