Articles, Blog

Farming at Ellington Agricultural Center: Cul2vate

October 2, 2019

My name is Joey Lankford and I am the executive director of an organization called “Cul2vate.” It says on the website this is a grassroots movement of people who just want to see food be leveraged to show love to people, but also to create a conduit for job placement. We wanted to provide a space for people who needed job placement opportunities, or, you know, aftercare programs for people that were coming out of recovery. The model is very simple, you know, it’s 50/50. 50 percent of it is give to acute relief, so that goes through Nashville Food Project, Graceworks, OneGen Away, Second Harvest, organizations who are already equipped to do what they do best. The other 50 percent is sold through farmers markets. That money is turned right back into Cul2vate and we use it to pay them wages and cover some of the costs of keeping this farming going. My name is Chris Comstock, I am a cultivator. I am the first cultivator. I’ve been in this location since the beginning, since it was just a bare field. So I have a lot of blood and sweat invested into this. It’s really special to me. Jack, I’m a student here. I’ve been out here for about two months. It’s real hard work, but it’s real rewarding. You know, it’s physically helping me lot, and spiritually and mentally. I’m getting a lot of fulfillment out of it. That’s my corn over there. (laughs) You know there’s a lot of restorative value to seeing plants grow and seeing the fruits of your labor literally being picked and going to meet acute needs. The farm is a place not only to work, but to build a relationship with them. So that we can put our name on the line after 4 months and tell an employer, look this guy or gal is going to pitch up. They’re going to do what you need them to do. I think when I look back I’m going to say this is definitely a turning point in my life, and I’m going to be very thankful for this platform for, you know, Ellington letting us work down here. Farming kind of has my heart and I hope that wherever I move after this, it will be in this field, in agriculture.

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