Photo by Zach Beeker | OKC Thunder
Singler Gift Boosts Farm-to-Fork Efforts for OKC
By Jimmy Do | okcthunder.com
Inside the basket was a collection of fresh baby carrots, baby turnips, baby radishes and microgreens with a neatly placed thank-you card on top. The surprise gift exchange was made after Thunder forward Kyle Singler presented the ceremonial check for $10,000 to CommonWealth Urban Farms co-founder Elia Woods on Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma City.
Volunteers and staff were on hand to celebrate on a January day that reached to an unseasonably warm 61 degrees Fahrenheit.
"We are extremely honored to get this gift from Kyle. It's a tremendous boost for us in moving forward with our vision for CommonWealth," Woods said. "We intend to use the money to buy tools and improve our infrastructure."
Making fresh homegrown food directly available to the local community shaped the vision for Woods' organization. From a garden sitting on a one-seventh of an acre corner lot near 32nd Street and Olie Avenue, CommonWealth Urban Farms served as a primary source of organic produce for many families, individuals and businesses across the metro since 2011.
In the production and delivery of food, bypassing intermediary channels like grocery stores in favor of a farm-to-fork relationship with consumers meant a better product in terms of quality and nutrition. Furthermore, consumers would also benefit from a personalized experience with the farmer through dialogue about their food. As a result, CommonWealth's raison d'être raised community expectations for food superiority and education through best practices and workshops.
"It's really important for a community to be based locally around its food," said Allen Parlier, coordinator of the Closer to the Earth Youth Gardening program. "A lot of people have been bludgeoned into eating the junk food that is most easily available. Educating folks about where their food comes from and making healthier choices will reduce the health problems we have in our society."
Using food as a way to connect with the community while raising awareness toward developing a sustainable society through better nutrition and education has been the driving force for Woods and company—an idea Singler embraced.
"Gaining education on what it is and what the possibilities are down the line is how I envisioned farming and providing food for a community," Singler said.
As the day ended with a tour of the sprawling garden edging the property, Singler reflected on CommonWealth's impact in the community to help feed a segment of the population struggling with malnutrition.
"It's about feeding hungry people. There's hungry people everywhere," Singler said. "To make sure there's food on tables for kids and adults is really important."
Cradling the gift basket brimming with fresh veggies as if it was a newborn baby, Singler was anxious to bring the harvest home and make good use of it. Nevertheless, his visit today was borne by his appreciation for the community and the work to improve it through the farm.
"It means a lot to give back to this community because the community gives back to the team I play for and what we stand for," Singler said.
To learn more about CommonWealth Urban Farms, visit their website here.
Watch: Singler Donates to CommonWealth Urban Farms