Toyota Green Initiative volunteers made ‘magic’ happen at the West End Community Garden

Birmingham residents, Felita Powell (mom) and Skylar Nicks (daughter) volunteering at the West End Community Garden. Photo courtesy of Toyota Green Initiative

Last week, before the Magic City Classic, the Toyota Green Initiative (TGI) joined forces with Birmingham West End neighborhood volunteers and students from Alabama State University, Alabama A&M and nearby colleges to make some “magic” of their own, volunteering at the West End Community Garden.

The Toyota Green Initiative is a movement to help find smart, simple ideas that can make a positive environmental impact in communities and in people’s life.

Student ambassadors from Alabama A&M at the Toyota Green Initiative at West End Community Garden. Photo courtesy of Toyota Green Initiative

Working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as part of this year’s Magic City Classic festivities, Toyota held a Day of Service at the West End Gardens on the drizzly, wet morning of Friday, October 26.

Despite the weather, several students, alumni and neighborhood volunteers spent the morning lending supporting the garden.

Volunteer from West End Urban Garden, Alabama A&M student ambassadors, and TGI coalition member, Yoli Ouiya. Photo courtesy of Toyota Green Initiative

“Volunteer day was extremely rewarding,” said Yolo Ouiya, a member of the Toyota Green Initiative Coalition. “We got an opportunity to support the garden by preparing the soil for crop covers, harvesting vegetables, digging up sweet potatoes, preparing that land for a new harvest, weeding and picking up debris in the neighborhood.”

More than just a community garden, the West End Community Garden supplies food for the community and the nearby WE Cafe, a project of Urban Ministry. The cafe not only receives neighborhood grown food, they hire and train local students for internships.

WE Birmingham Alabama
Urban Ministry’s 2017 WE Cafe Interns. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

“We do these kinds of events to support everyone. Growing your own food not only supports your health, it saves you money, you control what goes into your food, and it contributes to the overall growth of the community,” added Ouiya.

The WE Cafe will be serving meals this week on October 31 and November 1.

Here are the details.

Check out the cafe and while you are at it visit the West End Community Garden which is only a block or two from the Church. See how the volunteers who participate in the  Toyota Green Initiative Day of Service made a difference… their own bit of magic.


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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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