“Sometimes, you see the vision and others don’t,” Tarrant Lanier stated. As founder and Executive Director of Victory Teaching Farms, she understands the complications and joy found in creating non profits. Lanier along with her colleague, Cathy O’Neal have produced an educational and sustainable farm, in the heart of Mobile and center of a food desert.
As defined as an urban area in which is it is difficult to buy affordable or good quality fresh foods, food deserts are common in many areas along the Gulf Coast. Located near the historic cannon at The Loop and the Maysville community, Victory Teaching Farms is a nonprofit focusing on the education and cultivation of not only quality foods but also neighborhoods.
“Food is a key component to our health and through education, advocacy and increased access to healthy food, we feel we can impact the overall health of our community members that we serve,” Lanier explained.
Victory Teaching Farms produces everything from kale and collards to chilli peppers and blackberries. In addition to this, they also offer educational programs for every age group to showcase how produce is cultivated, maintained and its importance.
“When that connection is made to how our food is grown and how it can be grown right in our own backyards and why that is so important, we know right then and there that we are making an impact,” explained Lanier.
In only a few years, Victory has grown from a small farm on Houston street to a nonprofit catering to local farmers market, grocery stores and surrounding neighborhoods.
“Our work at Victory Teaching Farm will enhance economic growth, increase food quality, and
build a healthier community,” O’Neal stated.
“We have bigger plans and we see the farm becoming a full scale community center with a continued primary focus on educating our community, specifically children on the importance of local and sustainably grown food to our health, our environment and our economy,” Lanier added.
Currently, Victory is actively searching for additional funds to bring supplementary components to the farm including an orchard, large greenhouse and increased food production. Through locally grown food, Victory plans to have an economic impact also to the city while still stressing the essentials of organic produce, health and wellness.
The future is bright for Victory and expansion of the farm is vital to effectively impacting this area in every area.
“The opportunity to learn about growing and preparing their own food, the benefits of buying food that is locally grown, opportunities to prepare and market their own products, thus making an impact on the health and well- being of the entire city.”