June 15, 2018 // 7 PM - 10 PM
Honoring Concrete Jungle's Katherine Kennedy
At THE TROLLEY BARN in ATLANTA's Inman Park
Summer in Atlanta means Verde! Hosted by Generation Green of the Georgia Conservancy, Verde! is the soiree of the season!
The Generation Green Board of the Georgia Conservancy is excited to honor Katherine Kennedy of Concrete Jungle as its 10th annual Longleaf Award winner at this year's VERDE! The Longleaf Award recognizes the outstanding work of an emerging environmental or sustainability leader in metro Atlanta.
Katherine Kennedy's commitment to providing healthy, fresh produce to food insecure Atlantans through nature-based initiatives and the sustainable, community-oriented use of Atlanta's fruit-bearing trees and arable land is representative of the true spirit of the Longleaf Award. (Learn more about Katherine Kennedy and Concrete Jungle below).
Past Longleaf Award recipients include: Marian Liou of We Love BuHi, Daniel Jesse of REI, Amanda Rhein of MARTA, Robby Astrove of Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Center, Rebecca Serna of Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, Jennifer Owens formerly of Georgia Organics, Ovie Mughelli formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, Korri Ellis formerly of Atlanta Public Schools and Mandy Schmitt Mahoney formerly of City of Atlanta.
Katherine Kennedy and the work of Concrete Jungle will be celebrated at Generation Green’s annual summer soiree, VERDE!, on June 15 at the Trolley Barn in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhood.
Proceeds from VERDE! support the Georgia Conservancy's work to protect and conserve Georgia's natural resources.
General Admission - $45
Includes: live music, Grassroots Farms dinner, Urban Tree Cidery tastings and Sweetwater Brewing Company beer.
VIP Admission - $90
Includes: live music, Grassroots Farms dinner, Urban Tree Cidery tastings, Sweetwater Brewing Company beer, Georgia Conservancy pint glass, wine, specialty cocktails from ASW Distillery and poptails from King of Pops.
Georgia Conservancy members (Live Oak Level and above)- use your member id # to receive a discount when registering for Verde! Having trouble identifying your membership id #? Contact Georgia Conservancy Donor Relations Director Carden Barkley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VERDE! INSIDE AND OUT
VERDE! will feature live music, dancing, outdoor games, local artists and more! We're excited to welcome guests to a pulled pork dinner from Waverly, Georgia's Grassroots Farms, beer from Atlanta's Sweetwater Brewing Company, cider tastings from Urban Tree Cidery, VIP specialty cocktails from Atlanta's American Spirit Whiskey, VIP poptails from King of Pops and much, much more!
VERDE! takes place inside and outside Inman Park's beautiful, historic Trolley Barn. The Trolley Barn originally served as a service and housing depot for the city's first electric street rail line in the late 19th century. For many decades after its use as a railway facility it was continually re-purposed for a variety of uses, before falling in to years of boarded-up vacancy. Saved from demolition by true locally-organized grassroots activism, the Trolley Barn today serves as a wonderful example of adaptive re-use and historic restoration.
ABOUT KATHERINE Kennedy and Concrete Jungle
Katherine Kennedy serves as the Executive Director of Concrete Jungle, an Atlanta-based nonprofit whose mission is to alleviate hunger and related health issues through the growing and gleaning of produce in Georgia. Founded in 2009, by Aubrey Daniels and Craig Durkin, Concrete Jungle and its volunteers work to recover the abundance of ignored, fresh produce growing on our streets, yards and parks to meet health and nutrition needs of our homeless and food insecure population.
"I really love working in the food pantries and soup kitchens and connecting with folks about fresh, local produce," says Katherine. "Most people have some association with fruits and veggies - it takes them back to a meal or a place: eating around the dinner table or picking food from their grandparents' garden. I love that our produce can forge connections between anyone while also providing the biggest flavor and nutrition."
99% of fruits and vegetables that Concrete Jungle harvests go immediately to local soup kitchens and shelters that serve families and individuals living below the poverty line. For many of their partner agencies, Concrete Jungle is the only consistent provider of fresh produce harvested at its peak ripeness. In its nine years, the organization has donated 62,387 pounds of produce (249,550 servings).
How does Concrete Jungle do this?
- Mapping fruit trees throughout Atlanta
- Educating and engaging volunteers to identify and harvest fruit
- Developing technology to monitor ripening of trees
- Cultivating 4,000+ pounds vegetables annually on their urban farm in Southwest Atlanta
- Gleaning from farms and orchards throughout the Southeast at the end of their season
- Engaging local shelters and soup kitchens to make fresh, local produce more accessible
Concrete Jungle serves the 15% of Georgians and 20% of Atlantans who are food insecure. Research shows that people who are food insecure have a higher prevalence of chronic disease, in part, due to low accessibility to healthy food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Majority of food donated to partner agencies is shelf-stable food high in sugar, sodium and simple carbohydrates. Food insecure individuals are 2-3 times more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and other diet-related chronic diseases.
In 2018, Concrete Jungle is kicking off their Produce Education and Enjoyment Loop (PEEL Program) with their food pantry and soup kitchen partners, as well as putting in place new technologies to monitor fruits.
"We'll be teaching folks about why our local produce looks different than what they may be used to seeing at the store as well as how to use the more unique varieties of fruits that we find around the city," says Katherine. "Also, we're always trying new projects with Georgia Tech. This year, we're rolling out a tree camera that will snap pics of fruit ripening on the tree and send them to us so that we can keep our eyes on the ripening process. That way, we can pick the fruit with peak flavor and nutrition."
Prior to her work with Concrete Jungle, Katherine Kennedy was the Gardens Manager for the Lionheart School. There, she created horticultural and occupational therapy programs for their students with autism and similar challenges. Katherine started her career in food as a farmer on a rooftop in New York City before returning to her home state of Georgia to start her own farm. It was while farming in rural Georgia that she was introduced to the work of Concrete Jungle.
"I was looking to get back to the urban farming that I had been doing in New York, and I started exploring options in Atlanta," says Katherine. "When I visited Doghead Farm, Concrete Jungle's farm in SW Atlanta, I saw that they had an amazing community of young, enthusiastic folks out there every Saturday digging garden beds and doing very tough manual labor - just because they thought it was important work. That community was what really hooked me - young, compassionate people who were giving of their time to make Atlanta a better, healthier, more delicious place for all."
Through Concrete Jungle, Katherine continues to explore, promote and share her passion for small scale farming, food access, and giving people the information to grow and pick their own fruits and vegetables.
VERDE! 2018 Sponsors
PHOTOS FROM VERDE! 2017
About Generation Green
Founded in 1994, Generation Green is an elected board of directors committed to supporting the Georgia Conservancy and its mission and programs. Generation Green empowers our communities to protect and enjoy Georgia’s outdoors through adventure trips, service projects and social and educational events. Learn more >>