Owens Field Park (Corporation for Economic Opportunity)
The Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CEO) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 that is promoting green initiatives and fighting poverty in African-American communities in the Deep South. Located in Columbia, South Carolina, CEO has been working for several years now to get everyday people involved in sustainable living. Some of CEO’s goals are to reduce food miles by encouraging people to eat local; support struggling black farmers by developing community farmers’ markets for them to sell their produce; and engage minority farmers in growing bio-energy crops. A fruit orchard would bring a new source of free fruit to one of Columbia’s low-income, inner-city neighborhoods. In addition, the orchard site is adjacent to a Boys and Girls Club, and would provide an invaluable learning tool to show children, firsthand, what it is like to reap the fruits of one’s labor in the literal sense. The orchard will also supply healthy fruit to the hungry and those in need in the community. Although Columbia is striving to promote healthy eating and living, it currently has the fifth highest ratio of people with diabetes compared to the general population in the nation. A fruit orchard, growing out of its partnership with the City of Columbia and community residents, would be a symbolic and very visual reminder about what green and healthy habits are all about!