Nicole Bluh and Eugene Cook, Good Shepherd Agro-Ecology Medicine Wheel

Nicole Bluh and Eugene Cook want to invite and empower their community to tune in to the rhythms of the Earth and connect with themselves in the process. Co-directors of the Good Shepherd Agro-Ecology Center project, Nicole and Eugene are planning to build a Medicine Wheel in the center of the urban farm and community center located next door to the Good Shepherd Community Church in southwest Atlanta, Ga.

The volunteer-run center aims to improve community food access, educate the community on local plants and demonstrate how restoration of the land and the practice of sustainable farming can be beneficially integrated.

“Just as the garden can be the grounds for all subjects in life, the Sacred Wheel is a representation of all cycles in life. By entering into the wisdom of the cycle we may align our physical being with the cycles of nature to gain peace and harmony from wherever we are at,” Nicole and Eugene said.

The site of the Medicine Wheel is flanked by three spiral-shaped mounds which have mitigated regular flooding, while layers of mulch have revitalized heavily compacted soil to rich earth. This sustainable approach has produced thousands of pounds of nutritious food for the community, the church and the center’s own store called ROOTS (Revitalizing Our Own Top Soil). Over the two-year-old project, Nicole and Eugene have seen how connecting people back to the land grows community, revitalizes health, stabilizes families, nurtures economies and builds confidence.

“Often the West End is seen as a place of need,” they said. “…The Good Shepherd Agro-Ecology Center has continued to develop and grow in an organic way by people in and of the community and represents values which are already intrinsically held by the people of the West End like health, wellness, self-sufficiency and empowerment arising from within the community.”

The funds from The Pollination Project will be used for supplies needed to finish the Medicine Wheel, as well as for transportation costs and native plants for the area. For more information on the Good Shepherd Agro-Ecology Center, visit their Facebook page.

GRANT AWARD DATE:  APRIL 9, 2014