MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For Samaria Grandberry, her land is much more than just a plot of earth and to understand why we have to take you back in time at least 70 years.
“This land that we’re on was purchased by my great-great-great uncle. Then he passed it down to my great grandmother,” explained Grandberry.
A registered dietitian and small farmer, Grandberry comes from a family of sharecroppers. It’s been her family’s way of a making a living starting with her great uncle.
“He used to grow crops, he used to grow peas, he used to grow corn and he used to feed this neighborhood. So to be able to use this land as a way to feed my community and spread nutrition education, is really full circle,” she said.
If Grandberry looks familiar, you’d be correct. WREG’s Symone Woolridge interviewed her last year after she and her sister composed an idea to produce fresh fruits and vegetables for people in need. They created recipes and donated boxes of produce to the food bank. Since then, the requests have been pouring in.
“A lot of people have been asking, how can I buy produce? how can I buy produce? So along with some brainstorming with my family, we came up with this idea to host a market,” she said.
Grandberry launched Feeding the Root Grows, a way to provide culturally relevant nutrition information to the community through agriculture.
“Being a dietitian I see a lot of food disparities in our city and I also see a lot of lack of diversity when it comes to nutrition education, and I think that food is very personal to people. Food is a part of our culture and I think as a African American dietitian from Memphis, Tennessee, I’m uniquely positioned,” she added.
She plans to host an event on her family’s land, sitting in a predominantly Black neighborhood on Saturday, June 19. It’s a holiday known as Juneteenth, or freedom say, when those were enslaved learned of their freedom.
“We’re going to celebrate freedom,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know what Juneteenth is.”
So on a day with so much meaning and on land with so much history, Grandberry wants to keep the story alive.