Damayan, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 1992 to increase food security for low-income families. For seven years, Damayan was a grassroots, volunteer-run organization planting only family gardens.
In 2000, we wanted to extend our reach in the community and use the gardens to teach nutritional and environmental education. To this end, we began planting community gardens in community centers and schoolyards. We have seeded more than 30 gardens in our region and currently support 3 community gardens and edible schoolyards in the Tallahassee area.
To realize our mission, we partner with the faculty and parents at a school or a community organization to implement and maintain the gardens. In addition to supplying soil, compost, plants and seeds, Damayan offers hands-on instruction while the new gardeners master the skills necessary to maintain the gardens themselves.
A Word from Our Founder, Penny Alsop Founder & Director 1992-2000
Quite simply, The Garden Project gives people a means to provide food for themselves. We provide the tools: the soil frames, the soil, seeds and plants and instruction. The gardeners take over and they have great success. But there are many hidden treasures that are revealed when you see this effort in action.
There is pure joy in harvesting food you've grown yourself. There is a great sense of self-satisfaction that comes from having productive work to do and being able to share the fruit of one's labor with another. These are feelings we all can appreciate. In fact, we seek them out. Unfortunately when one is bound to the rigors of just surviving or just getting by, there is little time for anything else.
It's so easy to stay in our own "everything is going okay with my life" niche. When one steps out of it for just a minute to really look at how most people live, you realize that there is great hunger in this world. Hunger for food? Yes, undoubtedly. And hunger for friendship and caring and acceptance. Most importantly, you see this is true right here where you live. When I realized this, it made perfect sense to act.
I do this work because it's needed. That's the easy part to see. What's harder is saying I can do it. I will do it.
Then you start.
Burgen Schwartz, Garden Program Director
David Carré, FSU Community Ambassador
Sydney Otis, FSU Community Ambassador
Hunter Dennis, FSU Facilitator
Kendahl Stewart, FSU Facilitator
Board of Directors
Laura Phipps, Chairperson
Robbie Estevez, Garden Instructor, Grants & Fundraising
Kathy Weiss, School Garden Club Instructor
Laurie Jones, School Garden Club Instructor Tiffany Torres Bill Taylor