Ayoku Sweeney had little backyard gardening experience when she first reached out to Isles in spring 2014. Curious about organic community gardening, she wanted to know more about the challenges and opportunities of growing in an urban environment.
She soon joined Isles’ Incubator Garden, where community members spend a year learning basics while connecting with other trainees and experienced gardeners in our Isles Garden Support Network.
As Ayoku describes, “The experience is great. Being connected with what you consume, and knowing that you had a hand in seeing it go from this tiny seed or seedling into this fruit or edible leaf is indescribable. It’s important for me to know where my food comes from and it surprises me to uncover flavor nuances not experienced with store produce. Connecting with fellow classmates and forming friendships with like-minded people is even more priceless. We feel part of a community movement.”
After her training, Ayoku plans to share her passion and knowledge with her friends and neighbors. She tells us, “I want them to see the possibilities and benefits of knowing where food comes from, and that they have a choice to access fresh, healthy produce.”
Isles now supports more than 65 school and community gardens in Trenton, growing tens of thousands of pounds of fresh food.