In our society, everything is so fast paced. A lot of times, we as people do not monitor what we put into our bodies. We eat anything, not even thinking about the negative effects that what we eat may have on our lives. On a conquest to become more pure in terms of what I ingest, I have set out on a journey to bring knowledge to others about the benefits of healthy living. I have had the pleasure of meeting Jamila Norman, an agricultural guru, farmer, environmentalist, and nutritionist. Jamila owns Patchwork City Farms in Historic West End in Atlanta, GA. She educates people daily on the benefits of eating healthier and living healthier. I had an opportunity to talk to Jamila about farm life, healthy living, and the 30 Days in the Raw. Check out what she had to say:
OTR Angel -Hi Jamila, how are you?
Jamila – I am doing well! A little busy, but I am doing very well thank you.
OTR Angel – Thank you for giving us the opportunity to an exclusive interview with you.
Jamila -No Problem! Thanks for having me!
OTR Angel – What inspired you to take up farming as a lifestyle?
Jamila- Essentially what inspired me were the health disparities that I encountered. I am originally from NY with a Caribbean background; I really don’t eat meat. The access and availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is way better in NY. There are corner markets on every corner. Once I moved to Atlanta, I noticed there were not a lot of grocery stores that sold fresh fruits and vegetables. I love the West End area, so I knew that bringing a farm into the neighborhood would enhance the quality of life for the neighbors. In addition, I work in the environmental field as an Environmental Engineer; I know that the farm will address a lot of the issues that plagues the nutrition our neighborhood. I believe it’s nice to have a lush growing space to create food and address a lot of the issues we have environmentally. And alas, Patchwork City Farms was born!
OTR Angel – How long have you owned Patchwork City Farms?
Jamila- We incorporated in 2010. We farmed before, but not under Patchwork, we worked with other organizations in the community. We officially launched in 2010.
OTR Angel – Tell me about a typical day volunteering at your farm?
Sure! So a typical day at the farm typically starts after I get off of my full time job. I’m normally planting, weeding, tending to the farm, maintaining the farm, since things continue to grow, we have to stay on top of that. Mulching things and such is a big part as well. The weekends consist of harvesting and prepping things for market.
OTR Angel I heard you have quite nice events at the farm; what types of events do you hold?
Jamila- We have an acre of land that we have entered into an agreement with the school system to farm on this acre of land. We are located at Brown Middle School on Peeples St. We have a growing space where we are growing our fruits and veggies intensively and we also have a fruit orchard with like 8 picnic tables, nice open cut lawn, and a community garden where we throw events. Some of our events include:
-Father’s Day event with musicians performing, a meal that was catered from some of the top
-Super moon pie party
-We have even had a fall Pot Luck.
– We have a number of events to get the community involved since they are all free, except for the Father’s Day event.
OTR Angel What is your next event? When is it?
Jamila – The next event is the 30 Days in the Raw Food Challenge. It’s not a physical “come to the farm and do this” sort of event. We are starting on the 15th of September and it’s primarily inspired by need to facility a healthier lifestyle for our friends and families. I was fortunate enough to have met a good friend of mine two years ago, Natasha Brewley. She and I share a vision of a healthier lifestyle and better diets. While I have been working on farm life, she has been pursuing her business “Quiche & Tell by Chef Beee”, where she promotes and prepares vegan meals.
OTR Angel -30 Days in the Raw Food Challenge? Tell me about what is it exactly?
Jamila- Natasha is all about raw foods and healthier living. She and I put our heads together and figured since we grow all this amazing food on the farm, and she has the knowledge on how to make tasty meals with raw fruits and vegetables, that it would be a great thing to get the community and our social media community involved in a 30 Days In The Raw Challenge . I can’t say I have ever practiced consuming only raw fruits and veggies, but I figure, “Hey, why not?” So Natasha and I formulated an interactive event for participants to track their results to healthier living through communicating on our FB page about the success of the challenge.
OTR Angel- I look forward to participating! What advice do you have for people who have never even thought of participating in something like this?
Jamila- I know 30 days sounds really intense. I would suggest maybe people who are not so familiar with the lifestyle subscribe to our Facebook page where we will be posting menu items and recipes to make it easier. If it’s still too much, I suggest they just try breakfast, or a single meal. It’s perfectly OK to try a week at it. I just say “Try!”
OTR Angel- What type of supplies do people need to have to be successful with the 30 Days in the Raw Food Challenge?
Jamila- Well, we designed this project to be fitting for any and everyone. One only needs a knife and a blender for the majority of the food preparation during the challenge.
OTR Angel -How can our readers become volunteers?
Jamila- They can log on and register at www.HandsOnAtlanta.com for short term volunteer work. For internships, partnerships, and long term relationships, readers can volunteer on our website by dropping us a note.
OTR Angel – Thank you for the exclusive interview, Jamila. I am excited about our future endeavors!