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Meet Natasha Nicholes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natasha Nicholes.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My family and I partnered with Habitat for Humanity in 2013 and we were the first family in the West Pullman neighborhood to build and move into our home. In the midst of building, I noticed that there were a TON of empty lots in our neighborhood, and three on the corner that I live on. They were full of garbage and just a general catch all for people driving, biking or walking by. It made me sad. We decided that we would ask our alderman Carrie Austin if we could use the land to start a community garden, and we were given the go-ahead. Since then, we’ve offered produce to the community and a way for neighbors to connect with each other.

The biggest reason that I felt that the We Sow We Grow Project needed to happen was the fact that no one was speaking to each other as they passed by on foot or bike. It was a far cry from what I grew up with, and I missed that sense of neighborhood. Here we were building a community through Habitat for Humanity, but NO ONE was speaking to each other. Once we started the initial construction of the raised beds for the garden, curiosity got the best of people and they stopped and asked questions.

Being featured on the Harry Connick Jr. show was another catapult to the garden, and we received national exposure.

We’re currently raising money to expand the project, and we’re looking to partner with NeighborSpace to do so. It’s important that people in my neighborhood and beyond go back to their roots and learn that their food doesn’t come from a grocery store, but from efforts by real people, all while connecting these threads of the community and strengthening it.

Please tell us about your art.
My art is growing food. Simple as that. I’m learning each day what does and doesn’t work, and I want it to catch on to the younger people in the neighborhood!

I know that the older people love growing food. You can see it with a walk through West Pullman. Backyard gardens abound, but the knowledge isn’t being passed down, because it’s not being seen on a large scale. We’re so closed off as a society, and it’s a shame. Growing your own food is something that brings down stress levels, AND provides healthy food for a smaller investment – but a serious one. Time and effort.

I attempt to enthrall people with the fact that a small seed can produce favorites like sweet corn, or watermelons (which do NOT last on our farm) and even by having chickens that lay eggs daily.

I know that people don’t see farming as artwork, but if you think about it, magic comes from it daily, and it pours into the art of being human at the simplest level.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
You have to work to find your people. There are groups on Facebook, and individuals you can reach out to. Don’t be afraid to reach out, but also don’t attempt to find all of the answers without giving back what you can. Be giving as you learn. Offer what you know and the support will come back.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can find me on:

Facebook at www.facebook.com/wesowwegrow
Instagram at www.instagram.com/wesowwegrow
Twitter at www.twitter.com/wesowwegrow
Our private group https://www.facebook.com/groups/wesowwegrowchat/
And general posts on www.housefulofnicholes.com

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Image Credit: Natasha Nicholes

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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