Destroying Injustice through Gardening
“I grew up in Atlanta. In my community, we didn’t have grocery stores within five miles of our homes… and there just [wasn’t] any type of healthy resources for our people in our community,” Dean says.
It’s been three years since they formed D2DAW, and both Dean and DeShaun continue to work not only to provide healthy eating choices, but outlets for positive expression as well, through a movement called the Destroy Injustice thru Gardening and Art Initiative, or D.I.G. Art Initiative. As Dean explains in a video posted to his website, “Farming is for your family… Farming is love. Farming is community. Farming is art. It’s something you can incorporate everything with; you can feed yourself, you can clothe yourself, you can make medicine with food. It revolves around the whole natural thing, like Earth itself.”
The Swiss-army-knife usefulness of farming pushed Dean to start the Indigo Learning Farm in Northwest Atlanta where he teaches free classes every Sunday, from noon to 2 p.m. Participants learn how to grow useful plants and foods and, in the process, become healthier, more empowered and self-reliant. In the years Dean has been active, a small grocery store has opened near his farm, and multiple gas stations and convenience stores offer lots of less-than-healthy options, but Dean still views food sovereignty and experiential knowledge as important factors for building a prosperous community.
Dean and DeShaun are also involved in the FEED Showcase, a free monthly gathering at 9 Gammon Street SE, Atlanta. The FEED Showcase invites family and community members to gather and share their creations and knowledge with each other. These events draw community members of all ages, something Dean is proud of.
“We get more people [who] want to be a part of what we’re doing because of [our] age range,” Dean says, “because a lot of people don’t do... urban farming, or they don’t want to reach out to the youth, or other people, to bring them together.”
This message of youth participation and education is at the heart of everything Dean and DeShaun do for their communities. Every Friday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., they teach at various Atlanta Public Schools and charter schools, once again teaching skills necessary for urban sustainability.
Dean’s vision for D2DAW is a simple one: continue building farms, educating community members, and create safe havens for all people to meet, share, explore and ultimately thrive together.
For more information on D2DAW, visit D2DawLLC.Weebly.com.