We managed to snag some time with Concrete Jungle’s Field Manager, Adam Hicks, to chat about all things fruit and community. As Field Manager, Adam leads our weekly in-town fruit picks as well as our monthly adventure picks.
Adam is also responsible for figuring out where the food we harvest will be donated. He also leads our Produce Education and Enjoyment Loop (PEEL) program. Adam explains, “PEEL is our educational programming so that the people we’re serving have a better understanding of the value of the food, whether it’s nutritional value or how to prepare it. That way, they’re more likely to take it and use it once they receive it.”
Adam’s role is unique in that he’s truly involved in the whole Concrete Jungle (CJ) process, from tree to table. He organizes volunteers to harvest the produce, figures out where the produce is going to go, and then coordinates or leads cooking demos.
Adam first got involved with Concrete Jungle five years ago. He visited CJ’s Doghead Farm in Southwest Atlanta, and he instantly fell in love with it. As he says, “It was a beautiful day. I got to meet a lot of interesting people. At the time, I didn’t really know many people, so that was just so much fun. I ended up coming over and over and over again because it was social, I got to get my vitamin D, I got my workout in, and I got to learn how to grow things. So it was everything I wanted at once.”
After two years of volunteering, Adam joined the Concrete Jungle staff. Now, he uses our fruit tree map in his daily work. Adam explains, “I use the map for scouting trees. Part of that is figuring out when trees are ripe. So thankfully, the fruit map shows what fruit is in season. We also have a list [in the map] of what we picked last year, so I can reference what to pick this year. Since we have thousands of trees on there, this helps us know where to start. It’s fun using the map, but it’s also currently a little time consuming.”
Adam says, “The map has a lot of value for the public! It’s not just finding fruit. It’s showing you what grows seasonally. You get to see different parts of the city; some people just follow the fruit, and then they realize, ‘Oh I’ve never been over here! This is a cool area.’ Maybe it’s on a bike path. Or maybe it’s in a neighborhood that they’ve never seen. It’s a great way of seeing the city in a different light, instead of just through the lens of traffic. Instead it’s like ‘oh, lets stop and pick some apples!’”
As we round out another fruitful year, we need your help. You – our community – are critical to CJ’s success. We rely on you to help us harvest the fruits of local trees. And we rely on you to donate the fruits of your own labor, so that we can get more produce to people who need it.
Your donation at the end of the year will support CJ as we draw the map to the future. With your help, we will increase our capacity to meet the nutrition needs of communities experiencing food insecurity.
Will you help us map the way to a fruitier future by making a gift to Concrete Jungle before the year is up? Please make a gift so that we can keep getting delicious, nutritious food to folks who need it: donorbox.org/mapthefruit