T-Mobile Community Garden Network !

Photo of Ja'Scotta Jefferson
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Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Facebook: Ja'Scotta Jefferson Insta Gram: _colormesxott Twitter: _ItsYaGirlJay

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I am a rising senior at Virginia State University, and “commitment to service: putting service over self” has always been the personal motto that I live by. As an active member in my community in Northern Va and the Petersburg community while I attend school, it is my desire to use my presence to assist with change. I am always available to lend a helping hand wherever I am needed. In researching,I discovered that the city that I have grown to call home, the city where my University is located is a food dessert. Learning this put my thoughts in action. Something must be done to eliminate this issue. This is a serious concern that contributes to a lot of the problems that are currently present in the city of Petersburg. Especially the health and wellness of those in the community. I will do my part to assist with eliminating this issue and bringing assistance to the city of Petersburg.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I would like to eradicate the multiple problems that have arisen due to the current state of the city of Petersburg. Recognizing that the City of Petersburg is in a food dessert will allow others to become knowledgeable and hopefully willing to assist with changing the current status. Assistance from outside sources is needed to create this change. Community members have been dealing with various health outcome issues due to this dilemma.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I would like to develop a community garden network within the city of Petersburg. Currently there are multiple community gardens in the city that are ran by various organizations. Unfortunately volunteers, resources, and funding is in short supply. My approach would be able to develop a T-Mobile Community garden network that will help solve some of these resource issues. I am very active on my campus as a student leader and my goal is to commit to this mission by asking others to put service over self. This includes the students, student organizations and faculty. As our first effort to make change I would like to connect the student body with local nonprofits to help progress the community of Petersburg. We are planning on being direct volunteers to help maintain and develop community gardens within the network. We also will encourage the adoption of the various gardens and encourage others in the community to do the same.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Whenever someone comes on board they will be connected to service project immediately and we will put them right to work. There is an immediate need to help with the maintenance of the current community garden in place. They will help with watering, planting,weeding , garden maintenance, garden education,etc. We are also going to host community nights at the garden sites to encourage community members to help maintain the gardens and learn the various ways the garden can be used to enhance the community. We will have food, music, and demonstrations to show the various uses of the garden within the community and how the garden can be used in the home and school setting.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

I think that the biggest factor is that the scope of impact that this project has the potential to affect over the course of time. It is my belief that when people see better they do better. I am the X factor and so are all of the participants who will be donating their time and efforts to push the program forward. This is a community who needs so light and this project will give them that light. It will also start to change the generational dynamics of the families within the communities. Those participating will be exposed to better food options and eating habits.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

So far I have been able to bring a few nonprofits to the table who share in this vision. As well as community members, students, and even some officials from the City of Petersburg. We had identified over 7 community gardens in the City of Petersburg. Some have raised bed plots, seating and one is looking to construct a greenhouse in a partnership with Petersburg H.S. Local teachers are finding creative ways to incorporate the garden into their curriculum as well. To date, there is collectively 5 acres of land that is either accessible or in current use for community gardens. The impact is starting to occur with those who have expressed their interest in participating & acknowledging that there are some major changes that can occur with the implementation of this project. We have planted the seed for healthy eating and are slowly changing minds about the importance of community health.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

The next level for me would be to open a local grocery store to provide healthy choice options to the food selection in the City of Petersburg. With it being accessible to the community regardless of transportation or financial issues. I would also like for it be an extension of the community garden network so people can buy at the grocery store or the garden . This can also be made possible with the use of tablets and creating a community garden that is also WiFi accessible to the public.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

In order to make this happen we are going to need a few items. In particular a plow, shed, gardening tools, water hose, raised bed equipment, commercial refrigerator and freezer, wheelbarrows, mulch, seeds, yard signs, stepping stones, construction wood, and fencing. We could also use tablets at each garden site to keep a record of produce and sales/distribution.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

There are a few nonprofits that I have made connections with thus far; Think Then Choose Wisely, Restoration of Petersburg Community Development Corporation, Petersburg League of Urban Growers, Soul Ice Foundation, and Other partnerships such as Virginia State University, Petersburg Public Schools, and the City of Petersburg. By actively seeking organizations to partner with and then challenging those organizations to recruit other organizations, we can create partnerships that will extend beyond our community.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Evaluation results

43 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 76.7%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 16.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 4.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 2.3%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 83.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 9.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 66.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 21.4%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 4.8%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 7.1%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 25.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 14.3%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 2.9%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 81%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 16.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 2.4%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ariyan Miller

Hey There Fellow Changemaker,

Congrats on moving to the next phase. I wishing you the best of luck ! & I am sending love and light to all the positive things that you do.

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