Monday, 27 July 2009

Single mom brings farms to the Bronx - one of the Changents

Tanya Fields is one of hundreds of young Americans in, where her story first appeared.

I am a single mom in the South Bronx who quit her day job to become a full time activist. I am now seeking to create the first Hunt's Point Urban Farm and creating a nonprofit that would create a network of urban farms in the Boogie Down!

I have always been a big mouth and growing up on in the city of New York I had to be resourceful. So it is no wonder that my work in the community now depends on my resourcefulness and big mouth. I am an environmental justice activist, mom of three burgeoning revolutionaries and an upcoming urban farmer.

By day I am the Operations Manager at the Majora Carter Group, the original South Bronx environmental justice trailblazer. By night -- and weekends and holidays to boot -- I am working to create community programs to address food justice and remediate public health issues that I know affect all too many folks of color in the ‘hood.

3 years ago when I realized that I was unhappy in the corporate sector. I worked while raising my family to put myself through school only to find myself in an high demand, unfulfilling job on the lower rungs of the corporate latter and in the evening I myself coming home to a community frauught with [garbage] transfer stations, smells from water treatment facilities and an asthmatic child. I knew there had to be a way to help myself, my children and my community. I started volunteering with a local community group, Mothers on the Move where I excelled as a fearless speaker, a capable leader and an effective organizer and quickly caught the eye of the local press and other activists including Majora Carter.

Suddenly the big mouth that my mother warned would get me in trouble was stirring up trouble, but in the best way possible. I became known to community members and local elected officials as candid (sometimes to a fault), witty, relatable and articulate.

In the three years that I have dedicated myself to environmental work, I have started an organization called The BLK Projek which focuses on food justice particularly as it relates to public and mental health for underserved women of color. It includes using yoga to improve women's health and sex lives with sustainability, organic food and nutrition. My latest challenge has been rallying the cause to place an urban farm on a piece of underdeveloped NYC Parks Dept land...

About 7 years ago, I was a burgeoning spoken-word poet and emcee. My future work includes bringing hip-hop and 'hood culture together with the environmental work that I do. Most of the "isms” our people feel stem from environmental degradation. To change that, we must rise up and fight for the resources that will create a better, greener, healthier 'hood.

If I can be one of many successful architects of that -- and raise and inspire future architects -- then I will have been both an effective environmental leader and mother...

Changents is a US social network started by Deron Triff and Alex Hoffman, now going worldwide with Earthkeepers; it is sponsored by Timberland clothing, and seeks more partners.

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