Healing Hope Urban Gardens
0% interest loan funded June 2023
Healing Hope Urban Gardens is a woman- and veteran-owned veggie farm getting started on just a quarter acre of land held in commons in Petersburg, VA. Owner Natasha Crawford is one of several new BIPOC farmers launching their farm business at the Petersburg Oasis CommUNITY Farm, the managing entity at the Central Virginia Agrarian Commons that Foodshed Capital supported in 2022 with the purchase of its land.
Healing Hope’s mission is to provide nutritious and affordable food to communities that need it the most. After serving in the Army and receiving degrees in nutrition and public health, Natasha felt it was time to reconnect with her desire to farm. “I approach farming in a holistic manner that focuses on the relationships between the farmer, the environment, the plants, and the community,” Natasha says. As a veteran of the Iraq war, gardening acted as a way to strengthen her mental health and reconnect with herself. Wtih training from the VSU Beginner/Small Farm program, business planning assistance from SCORE, and completion of VSU’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture Program, she is now also working towards GAP certification. Natasha avoids using chemicals or pesticides and uses integrated pest management methods such as hand-picking and interplanting. She plans on installing drip irrigation and uses compost and worm castings to amend soil. To ensure that every member of her community can enjoy fresh produce, Natasha sells at the River Street Market which accepts SNAP and is applying to the Virginia's Senior and WIC Farmers' Market Nutrirtion Program.
Foodshed Capital supported Healing Hope with a 0% interest loan for startup equipment including a quick greens harvester, a seeder, hand tools, seed trays, and packaging and labels for microgreens and value-added products.