Abundant Earth's Ester Moore labels seedlings placed in raised beds on the adjoined acre of land at the nonprofit's headquarters in Frayser. Although cold weather delayed planting, some of the produce sold at the Good Works Farmers Market will be grown onsite. (Courtesy Photo/Lee Eric Smith)

Abundant Earth Global CDC  will launch Good Works Farmers & Flea Market on Saturday (May 29) from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.  in the parking lot of Abundant Earth’s headquarters at 847 Whitney Ave. 

“The Farmer’s Market is the premiere component of Abundant Earth’s broad agenda of using the earth’s  natural resources to end poverty in our lifetime,” said Lee Smith, Abundant Earth co-founder. 

The nonprofit operates a small, community garden on 1.2 acres in Frayser. While some of the produce offered at the market on Saturday will be grown on site, a main focus of the event is to provide fresh produce while supporting local farmers. A limited number of flea market spaces will be available to non-produce vendors. 

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Abundant Earth co-founder Ester Moore. “Our original plans were to open last spring. We’re excited to finally get underway with this.”

Moore and Smith envisioned Abundant Earth as an organization that promotes and practices sustainability in underserved neighborhoods. Other Abundant Earth initiatives focus on bringing eco-friendly new home construction, urban farming and waste-to-energy production into so-called blighted neighborhoods. 

“Housing, food and energy – those are the building blocks of society,” Smith said. “If we can take land that is considered unproductive and make it sustainably hyper-productive – efficient homes on land that produce food and energy – we think we can win the war on poverty.”

Moore and Lee saw an opportunity to create Abundant Earth when an old, juke joint called The Hideaway became available along with more than an acre of vacant land attached. In addition to the farmer’s market, they envisioned a functioning micro-hub of agricultural activity, including an indoor farm, a greenhouse, chicken coop and composting operation. 

The building also has a commercial kitchen, banquet hall and a stage, which is  available for private and public events.

“We want our facility to be a resource to Frayser,” Moore said. “That’s why we named it ‘Good Works.’ We’re trying to ‘do good’ on multiple levels. Not just offering high quality food, but supporting local farmers and  teaching people how to grow their own food.”

Abundant Earth intends to launch a variety of programs to help educate and build energy around how sustainable practices can empower and transform communities. Launching later this year is “Pipeline to Prosperity,” a training program for ex-felons who want to learn about urban farming and earthen construction. 

“Nature doesn’t run a background check,” Smith said. “If you have good seed, good soil, good water and good light, and you’re willing to literally get your hands dirty, you can reap a harvest. Anybody can reap a harvest – and thus, become a benefit to their families and communities. That is empowerment.”

TSD columnist and Abundant Earth co-founder Lee Eric Smith built what he calls “the Verti-Grow” out of PVC pipe and used 5-gallon food-grade buckets. About 20 plants can be grown in the contraption, which is designed to show how objects can be repurposed for gardening and also show that home gardeners don’t need much space to grow a lot of food. (Courtesy Photo/Lee Eric Smith)

Abundant Earth plans to launch Abundant Saturdays, which will run concurrently with the Good Works Farmers Market. Abundant Saturdays will combine volunteerism as well as teaching everyday sustainable practices. The plans call for demonstrations and short talks on topics such as soil health, gardening tips and composting. A regular cooking demonstration is a longer-term goal.

“We’re trying to bring a certain type of energy and activity to our headquarters,” Moore said. “We want it to be fun, so that people will come back and bring others with them.”

In addition to cash and credit card forms of payment, the Farmer’s Market will accept SNAP (EBT) cards.

(For questions and more information, visit [email protected]. Or, call Ester Moore at 901-825-544; Lee Eric Smith at 662-216-0086.)