I do not have a green thumb. The past few years, I’ve tried to start a garden in my backyard and it almost always ends up overrun with weeds, or one year all of my cucumbers ended up just eating everything else in my garden. I had no less than 50 cucumbers that year, and then the next year I wasn’t able to grow anything, then the next year I tried to grow things with plants, and maybe had a couple of jalapeños. But for the most part, every year, my garden has turned into a big flop. I really wish I could garden, I really want to learn how to garden. So, this year we’re going to try again, we’re going to do some raised beds, planted some fruit trees, got some blueberry bushes that maybe will give us some blueberries. We’ve got a blackberry bush, we’re trying. My guest today, took the idea of a garden in her backyard, and decided she no longer wanted to just feed her family, she wanted to feed her entire community on the south side of Chicago. What was once a small idea that she had, is now a full fledged dream that she is pursuing.
FOLLOWING OPEN DOORS
After the death of Natasha’s sister, she learned not to take life for granted. She started to explore areas where she could use her passions to serve other people and boy did her idea explode. Molly and Natasha discuss the miracles that happen when you follow open doors. Her community garden has not only opened doors in her own life, but opened the doors of people in the community, allowing them to come together, get to know one another, and support each other in times of need and celebration.
STARTING A COMMUNITY GARDEN
From starting a small community garden, to collaborating with other non-profits in Chicago to buy a plot of land that has sustained much of the community, Natasha’s vision has grown beyond what she imagined. Their unique design allows for the community to come together and request certain foods, sparking an interest that they’re hoping will lead to classes, teaching others how to grow and sustain their own food.
About Natasha Nicholes, Founder of House of Nicholes:
Natasha C. Nicholes is a serious maker.
To be a serious maker, you need the ability to see things not as they are but as what they can be. Not only that, you need the skills to make that vision into reality.
That is Natasha’s super power.
Where others saw an abandoned lot on the Southside of Chicago, Natasha saw a community garden overflowing with greens, fresh food for her neighbors, and chickens. Because of Natasha’s community leadership and hard work, the We Sow We Grow Community Garden allied with local stores, won features on the Harry show and in the Chicago Tribune, and was a 2017 Iris Award Nominee for the Best Philanthropic Work of the Year.
Not only does Natasha grow food, she grows humans.
She made four bold and brilliant children with her husband – and even made two of them at the same time. She even homeschools. But when she was researching online to find families like hers, she didn’t find any voices of African Americans represented. So of course, she created her own space at www.housefulofnicholes.com.
Through her blog, Natasha forged partnerships with companies and organizations such as Kia,Samsung, General Mills, Dream Kids, and Habitat for Humanity. She spoke at conferences such as Blogalicious,BlogHer, National Box Tops University, and various Illinois Farm Bureau summits. She is the Travel Editor at Mom 2.0 Summit and was a cast member for the Chicago 2017 Listen to Your Mother Show.
And if that isn’t enough, there’s more. Sewing. Knitting. Canning. Preserving. Building. Growing. Sowing. Natasha can do all these things.
She is a serious maker.
CONNECT WITH NATASHA
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