In the heart of Birmingham, Alabama a community garden blossoms, symbolizing the fruits of perseverance, community, and sustainable living. This flourishing initiative owes much to Joanice Thompson, Community Engagement Advisor for NOWINCLUDED and a dedicated NOWINCLUDED member, whose story of environmental stewardship and community engagement was featured in the news this week on WBRC Fox 6.
Joanice Thompson, known for her unwavering dedication to community health and well-being, has been a beacon of change in the Bush Hills community. Her journey began in 2017, with the ambitious goal of transforming a vacant lot into a vibrant community garden and urban farm, without relying on city funds. Through Bush Hills Connections, a nonprofit born from the neighborhood’s collective effort, Joanice spearheaded the creation of the Bush Hills Community Garden and Urban Farm. This once empty plot now yields 50,000 pounds of fresh produce annually, nourishing the community and supporting local service organizations.
The transformation under Joanice’s guidance didn’t just stop at agriculture. Partnering with local entities, including an international construction firm and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she helped renovate an old school building into a community hub. This space now hosts neighborhood meetings, community plays, and various activities, from yoga to cooking classes, showcasing the holistic approach to revitalization.
With the City of Birmingham’s recent support, the project has reached new heights, emphasizing the power of community-led initiatives and the city’s commitment to green spaces. Joanice’s efforts in the Bush Hills garden serve as a testament to what can be achieved when communities unite for a common goal.
As we celebrate Joanice Thompson for Member Monday, we’re not just acknowledging her for the garden’s lush rows of produce but for her role as a pillar of strength and innovation in the community. Her vision and leadership remind us of the impact one person can have in fostering a healthier, more connected community. The Bush Hills community garden stands as a symbol of collective power and sustainability, a legacy of Joanice’s commitment to making a difference.