A Community’s Health Ultimately Depends on their Soil

Yonnette Fleming is a long-time WhyHunger partner and Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award winner. Based in NYC, her work at Hattie Carthan Community Market in Brooklyn, New York has inspired community members for over six years. The garden “advances community resilience to the issues of food insecurity and health disparities evident in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood by adding nutrition awareness and food security workshops, wellbeing workshops, [and] intergenerational community councils.”

Recently, Yonnette has been hard at work to install a new component called the Herban Garden. This new venture will allow garden members to grow and process herbs for added-value ventures,  reduce the carbon footprint of the foods sold in the Hattie Carthan Community Market and allow members to expand their food justice work in District 36, covering the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights sections of Brooklyn.

Below is a poem Yonnette wanted us to share with you. We hope you enjoy it.


A Community’s Health Ultimately Depends on their Soil As what is in the soil, will get into the groundwater, As what is in the soil, is in our food and environment. To create healthy communities we must repair the health of our soil Our unsustainable building practices have degraded our soil Our poor business practices have caused us to decide to dump waste into the soil Our disconnection from the Earth has caused us to not recognize how important soil health is to public health.

Candice Comisi