Thursday, June 16, 2011

So Crazy It Just Might Work...

Lexington has seen a spike in violent crime in recent weeks. Mostly gun related, but other stuff too. Gangs are out openly recruiting kids.The policy makers are freaking out and forming commissions and wringing their hands.

Many times when this happens people get so fixated on the symptom: violence, not the underlying problem: poverty. Incarcerating people won't work. Extra cops on the street won't work. We need to provide a means to lift people put of poverty. Desperate communities resort to violence. Empowered communities have better things to do.

I love the opportunity that I have had through urban farming. Things are getting ready to expand yet again. Water at the big field is going to help the hunger ministries a great deal, but how can we save these kids from the gangs?  How can working with a couple of kids for a couple of hours a day counter the other twenty two they have mostly unsupervised? What about all the other kids?

I have an idea. It is big and crazy and expensive and there is no way I can see how to make it happen.

This thought came to me when I was driving the support car for the bike ride. We passed a farm for sale really close to the neighborhood we serve. 

What if we could get a small farm near by...

We could have animals.

We could grow even more veggies.

We could host kids like a camp to get them off the street during the summer. They could grow food to bring back to their community. They could get experience that will help them get into college or get a good job. 

I know it is crazy. I think it's so crazy it just might work. Just got to figure out how to come up with $


  1. I love this idea. I can picture a farmhouse kitchen with a big, long table and benches... And a VW bus to drive around recruiting and transporting kids... And maybe some cabins with bunk beds for the summer months...

  2. I was imagining the same cabins and long tables. Probably shouldn't drive around in vans picking up kids though...

    I was thinking having them referred by churches or school counselors.

  3. Running a day camp type thing is actually a whole lot easier than an over-night camp, and you might be able to get another organisation to help. You could even start as just a once or twice weekly activity for a different already established camp. For example, our public school system offers a free summer daycamp where they partner with all sorts of local organisations while providing supervision, lunch, and transportation. The organisation provides some kind of learning activity. Some act as one-shot field trips, and others as summer-long continuous activities. Places like YMCAs might also be interested in partnering and providing transportation for daycampers.

  4. @Nikki This is where crazy fits in. We would have to shoot for the moon. The point would be to remove the kids from the environment...especially in the evening.
    The evening is when trouble starts.

    The biggest obstacle in this plan is the land. Prices in central Kentucky are astronomical.