HIGHLIGHTING THE WHEELS THAT KEEP THIS MACHINE ROLLING!
JEROME JONES 08/08/2021
Today, we highlight and celebrate one of the inspirations for Jones Garden, Jerome Jones (known by many Stauntonians as Mr. Jones, and easy to spot on the street with is tan hat). 'Dad,' as we call him is a great help to our cause, but he's also a husband, father of 13, grandfather of 9, and an inspiration to the community through his work as a minister. Read a bit more about him below:
"I worked at Children's Hospital (in Washington, DC) for 20 years. First I was a special police officer, then switched to respiratory therapy for the rest of my time there. And then, finally, I drove the school bus, then the trolley here in Staunton until I retired. I'm interested in righteous living and helping others to live right, and winning souls for Christ. I also like to play musical instruments, and to sing. I like working with flowers and gardens, and all that sort of thing. I think it's a wonderful thing to have a community garden where people can come and buy fresh produce and enjoy the pleasures of fresh eating, and fresh living. I support Naomi because, number one, she's my daughter 😊, and I think she's doing a fine job. God has really blessed her with a great vision, and she's firm about it, and she's really committed to it. When I see a person that's committed to something I'm going to help them."
Thank you for all of your tireless work to support our mission!! It's about time we gave you a shout-out!
DEBORAH KUSHNER 08/28/2021
Today, we're highlighting one of our dedicated volunteers, Deborah Kushner. She's an active community member and has been a support from the very beginning! Read a bit more about her below: "I'm from Atlanta, a great place to grow up, but I really prefer the small town vibe. I'm retired but stay busy with environmental activism and community issues. Checking out all the amazing bakeries here is a favorite pastime, a vice I try to balance with lots of walking. I've done a lot of crafts in the past but there's no time for them now! News of the planned Jones Garden was music to my ears! Food insecurity is such a pressing issue, and with the Garden's emphasis on organic produce and making sure local folks' needs are met, I knew it was a project I wanted to help with. It looked like an ambitious project, but in just a few months it was flourishing - testimony to an inspired plan, a welcoming atmosphere and the need. Naomi has created an exquisite model for every church, school or large lawn. This is what community should be - working with and helping each other with our basic need for good healthy food. Each time I'm at the Garden, at least one new person stops by, and I get to enjoy their wonderment at this amazing creation. And each week I get to see how this beautiful garden has grown!"
Thank you Deborah for all of your hard work to support our mission!
GRETCHEN BISHOP 07/15/2021
If you've been by the garden on our Market Days, chances are you may have met Gretchen, one of our most dedicated volunteers. She helps to harvest and weed the beds, among other things. We appreciate all your hard work, Gretchen❤️!!! Read a bit more about her below:
"I moved to Staunton from Connecticut about 5 years ago. I'm retired but over the years I've worked as a high school teacher, a waitress, a temp, a stay-at-home parent and a volunteer trainer/coordinator for nonprofits.Volunteering has always been meaningful for me - it's a way to contribute to the communities and connect to the people where I have lived. I feel very aligned with Jones Garden's mission to make good, fresh nutritious food available to everyone - overcoming the barriers of cost, proximity and lack of experience. I love the focus on local neighborhood participation. Plus, I just really enjoy being outside and "in the dirt." So, I'm grateful to Naomi, to you and to your family for conceiving of this project and making it happen. I feel privileged to be a small part of this amazing project and encourage others to visit the beautiful garden, get some good food and help out. Whether you are an experienced gardener or a complete novice (I'm somewhere in between), volunteering feels very healthyand is a great way to learn."
BECCA SAMUEL 06/28/2021
This week, we're highlighting the cheerful BECCA SAMUEL, a northern Virginia native and a counselor for Staunton City Schools. Thank you for your time spent to help uplift our community! Read a little more about her below: "I grew up in Centreville Virginia and recently finished graduate school at UVA. My husband and I moved into the area this past year; I started working at Shelburne MS in 2020 as a graduate student intern and am excited for the opportunity to continue my work there as a school counselor in the fall. Previously, I worked with middle schoolers in Richmond, VA at an after school program and discovered a love for spending time with adolescents and teaching them about the importance of mental health, empathy, and shaping our world to be more equitable and compassionate. Since I was a child, I have loved gardening with my family and believe that cultivating a green space that provides access to fresh produce and community is one of the best things that I can be a part of. Last year brought a lot of isolation for me with the pandemic so I am incredibly grateful for the welcoming and community centered mission that Jones Garden offers to all of its volunteers and neighbors."
makeba robinson 06/09/2021
Makeba Robinson Is an active resident of Staunton with a passion for community building. Read a little about her below: "I am the mother of two young men and a community advocate. In addition to being an English teacher at Shelburne Middle School, I am also the author of two children's books in the Lula-Mae, Kid Detective series. One of the main reasons why I volunteer at the Jones Garden is because I believe in their mission. Having nutritious food is crucial to short term and long term health, and everyone should have access to it!" Thank you, Makeba for putting in the sweat!
Scott Tiernan 05/17/2021
sCOTT tIERNAN IS man on a mission to reduce plastic polution, one piece of furniture at a time. Read a little about him below. "I am the owner and founder of POP Plastic (Plastic On Purpose) we collect local plastic and refabricate it into furniture and home goods, designed to perpetuate a circular economy. My personal interests are encouraging people to be their true authentic selves, cooking good food, making stuff, writing/performing songs, and ending the day with a movie. My birthplace is in NY but my partner and I are raising our daughter here, so Staunton is becoming our NEW family home-town."
JAZMYNE ORTIZ 05/03/2021
Meet Jazmyne Ortiz (@oh_jazmyne), one of our dedicated volunteers who's been with us since day 1. She's a delightful addition to our crew, and an avid foodie. Read a little about her background and why she was drawn to be a part of our Staunton project:
"I’m the bread baker at Reunion Bakery downtown. I would say one of my passions is good food, specifically bread. I’ve had an incredible opportunity to start the bread program from scratch at Reunion and expand on this town's food offerings. I love being able to connect with farmers and millers to bring in cool grains for our customers. I do think about bread a lot but I also enjoy spending time with my cat Frida, spending time outside, cooking and fermenting at home, reading and crafting. And I also love to travel.
I heard about Jones Garden from a friend in town. Accessibility to good food and land has always been of interest to me. My grandparents were gardening people and always stressed the importance of land maintenance and having the knowledge to grow things on your own. As a kid that was always so magical to me. My hope is that by volunteering with Jones Garden I can have a small part in making that happen for someone else. Plus there’s no better feeling then getting your hands dirty and the sun on your skin."