Eugene Cooke began working in the urban agriculture movement in Southern California. He was baptized in urban gardening with a full immersion mentorship with Adonijah Miyamura El in Los Angeles developing Food Forestry at Crenshaw High school.
This project was the transformation of an abandoned ¾ acre agriculture center into a subtropical food forest and learning oasis. The 4 years of this apprenticeship deepened Eugene's awareness to the vital need to restore the soil and encourage tree and vegetable growth in urban areas. Working multiple public and private Food Forestry projects opened opportunities for entrepreneurship, non profit service and meeting motivated community members. Eugene met Rashid Nuri in Los Angeles and after two years of planning they both came to Atlanta in 2006 to begin Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture. Since then, Eugene continued to hone his craft and his love of growing by traveling nationally and internationally to learn from exemplary organizations encouraging local food systems. Eugene has worked in Jamaica with One Love Learning Foundation, in Haiti with League of Hope and traveled to Kenya twice to absorb the richness of possibilities of what small scale, intensive local food systems can be.
At this time the agro-ecological principles of Pierre Rabhi deeply influence his work in urban and suburban areas.
JoVonna Johnson-Cooke is owner and co-founder of MaituFoods, LLC, a vegan meal delivery service and vegan nutrition education hub. Through MaituFoods, she is working to develop culturally appropriate and accessible educational materials that highlight the benefit of healthy nutrition through a vegan diet. The MaituFoods’ Mother’s Meal Program works to provide women, especially those in modest means households, with the knowledge and guidance to achieve a healthy pregnancy and optimal postpartum recovery through a vegan meal and nutrition program.
The overall mission of MaituFoods is to honor the art of food rituals, and to serve humanity in a way that promotes the least harm and the most good for people, animals, and the environment. As co-founder of Grow Where You Are, she works with a dynamic team of people committed to local food sovereignty by assisting individuals and communities in creating sustainable plant-based local food systems.
JoVonna Johnson - Cooke
The Grow Where You Are
Nicole Bluh has approached Urban Agriculture through the lens of years of studying about nature, earth-skills, the wilderness, and holistic healthcare with teachers all across the US. After years of volunteering with Truly Living Well, Nicole became the Operations Coordinator. Her responsibilities included coordinating the training program, seed saving, harvest and greenhouse management. In 2011, she co-developed and ran the first Urban Farm Summer Camp at TLW. In 2012 she developed an agriculture program for Elementary School-age students at the Inspire Cooperative School in Midtown which ran through 2014. In addition to being the Operations Coordinator for Grow Where You Are LLC, she was the Farmer-In-Residence at the East Lake Community Urban Farm for the 2014 season. This residency included running and fulfilling a CSA for a local school, designing and implementing crop rotation and coordinating events.
Nicole’s passion for Natural Health has been a potent driving force in developing her own eco-entrepreneurial endeavor. ThirdMoon Botanica was created in 2013 where she educates people about the powerful and necessary nutrition available in the wild plants and how to harvest
Grow Where You Are is a dynamic full service social enterprise in the field of local food systems. We partner with organizations and individuals to bring food abundance to communities and those who value real food. We design, install, and maintain multiple public and private spaces where food is produced using Agro-Ecological principles. We have been training residents in this dynamic form of urban agriculture for over ten years.
Grow Where You Are LLC is a social enterprise that is committed to providing Agro-Ecology training and life skills workshops to evolve urban dwellers into global stewards. We are currently
partnering with organizations, institutions and individuals to plant
fruit orchards, develop farms and assist in ecological restoration in areas that enhance the health, economics, and environmental benefits by creating local food abundance systems. Grow Where You Are created the Good Shepherd Agro Ecology center in the heart of Historic West End, Atlanta. Since 2012, we have been building a robust 3-acre farm-to-market site that has served as a research, teaching and training
facility dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and food justice. Our volunteer work at the site has produced over 15,360 lbs of food, served over 8,260 people with healthy food options and facilitated over 144 service groups.
With the succes of the Good Shepherd Agro-Ecology Center and the support of our partners, GWYA is now developing the Awali Veganic Homestead Education Center near Stone Mountain, GA. Awali is an East African word meaning The Source. This site hosts veganic agricultural workshops, community feasts, and an organic seed library, all on a 5 acre food forest that GWYA is developing.