We caught up with CJ board member and volunteer Sheneka White after she finished leading a flying dragon fruit juicing session at the Edgewood Community Learning Garden. Whenever there’s a unique volunteer opportunity for Concrete Jungle, she steps up to help.
Sheneka grew up around “farm to table people,” gardening with her dad and grandma, and eating her mom’s delicious chicken bog (a “super-specific and super-regional” specialty from her part of South Carolina). Now, she serves on both the Community Engagement Committee and the Board of Directors for Concrete Jungle, but she still finds time to go to fruit picks and farm days. “I like the people I’ve met,” she shares. “I always end up having a good conversation at events.”
“One of the things I look for in volunteering is being able to find a community that you plug into versus it being a one-off thing. I think that’s what’s kept me around,” Sheneka says. “There’s just a lot of goofiness” at Concrete Jungle fruit picks.
Before she started volunteering, Sheneka’s first connection to CJ was through the fruit tree map, which she used to locate a mulberry bush with her students at the school where she works. “Two of them thought it was really cool. And then we got an email from the nurse that we should not be eating things in the woods with kids. But it was a little magical moment in the pandemic at school.” Undeterred, Sheneka continues to use the fruit tree map to locate new kinds of trees around Atlanta.
“I didn’t know what a service berry was before Concrete Jungle” but now that she can identify multiple types of fruit trees with ease, she’s noticed that “trees are all around and they’re not picked or utilized at all. It was really eye opening.”
Her favorite fruit to pick with CJ is persimmons. “I did a persimmon pick last December and it was this Dr. Seuss looking tree, and it was just a lot of fun, so whimsical. It was in a kind of busy street so people kept stopping to ask what was going on and we got to explain it to them.”
Thank you, Sheneka, for all you do for CJ!