The Nashville Food Project’s newest meal site is right around the corner from one of our Gardens at the Wedgewood Towers community, located in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood. This apartment complex has 121 units and is managed by First Cumberland Properties specifically serving low-income disabled and seniors over the age of 62.
As long time residents of Nashville can attest, this is an area that has changed a lot in the last 10 years, and those changes have had lasting impacts on the Wedgewood Towers community.
When Kita Davis was recently assigned as a social worker for this building, she polled the residents to better understand their needs. At the top of the list was access to food, healthy or otherwise. The last, walkable grocery store, a save-a-lot, was torn down for condos not too long ago. Most residents of Wedgewood Towers do not have access to regular transportation and have a hard time getting out. With no grocery stores within walking distance, it’s no wonder that access to healthy food is at the top of the list.
As a result, Kita reached out to The Nashville Food Project. Now, every Tuesday at lunch and Friday at dinner, residents of Wedgewood Towers gather together around activities and a hearty, made from scratch meal.
On Tuesdays before lunch the residents are joined by students from the University School of Nashville. Each week a different class comes and leads an activity for the community. One week it was a game, the next a computer lesson. Last week, in preparation for St. Patrick’s Day, the kids led a craft, making paper rainbows and pots of gold for the residents to decorate their doors with.
After the craft it was time to eat. Residents blessed the meal with words of gratitude before digging in. On the menu was barbeque chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, a kale salad & fruit. Similarly, on Fridays volunteers join the residents for a “lively game of bingo” while they eat.
Before this meal and these activities, Kita said that there weren’t many community wide activities at Wedgewood Towers. It’s taken a little while for the programs to grow but every week she has more residents coming back to join in and receive a meal.
Her goal with these meals and community times are simple, to promote wellness, build morale, and strengthen relationships between residents and staff, fostering a friendly atmosphere and a strong sense of community. And really, isn’t that what a shared meal is all about? Every week, Kita says, the community grows.
At The Nashville Food Project we embrace a vision of vibrant community food security in which everyone has access to the food they want and need through a just and sustainable food system. As the sweet potatoes from a local farm, the greens from our garden around the corner, fruit salad prepared by volunteers, and chicken donated from a local restaurant filled up these plates it all came together, a meal Nashville can be proud of.