Sow Much Good: A Woman Parlays Her Love for Gardening into a Local Farmer’s Market that Gives Underserved Community Members Access to Healthy Foods at Affordable Prices

By Robin Emmons and the Sow Much Good Team

Organization Name – Sow Much Good

Location – Charlotte, North Carolina

Mission – To transform neighborhoods that suffer from food insecurity into well-served communities.

Number of People Served – 12,000 families annually

Completion Date – 2013

More Information –

Robin Emmons has always had a longing to do something meaningful in her life — something with greater purpose. But it was when her brother, who is mentally ill and, at the time, homeless, became physically unhealthy from the food he was eating at a local mental health facility that she knew she had to do her part to make a difference. What started as donating produce from her backyard garden, and then watching her brother’s health improve dramatically as a result, quickly became her life’s passion.

Robin founded Sow Much Good, Inc., a North Carolina-based nonprofit, which—through organic micro farming, community partnerships, and direct education initiatives—provides opportunities for individuals to take part in local and sustainable food source creation. Our core goals focus on education, environmental sustainability, diet, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle strategies. These goals are intended to address the disproportionate incidence of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and other preventable lifestyle diseases that are most markedly seen in low-income, underserved, and underrepresented populations.

By way of tools that develop skills and promote self-reliance, environmental responsibility, and healthy dietary habits, we empower those who lack the means of obtaining healthy and nutritionally dense foods with the knowledge to improve the quality of their lives through nutrition.

Perkins&Will’s team of passionate, compassionate, and dedicated designers helped us bring to life our dream of having a permanent farm stand at which to serve our fresh produce and engage with community members, staff, and volunteers. The thoughtful and versatile design of the stand also allows us to host our farmers’ market, free lunch program, canning workshops, outdoor cooking demonstrations, and our annual fall festival. Perkins&Will designed our headquarters building on the same site, as well, allowing us to host indoor cooking demonstrations, workshops, and events in addition to carrying out our administrative responsibilities as a nonprofit. They even designed a chicken coop for us! The custom designs of all three projects are not only beautiful, but also essential to the execution of our mission.

We are so grateful for Perkins&Will, a firm whose values are strongly aligned with ours, and whose team of designers—out of the goodness of their hearts—provided for us the buildings and spaces we needed to serve our community. We are proud to call Perkins&Will not only our partners, but also our friends.