Keitra Bates, Founder of Marddy’s Shared Kitchen & Marketplace, delivered the devotional message at the May 15th Virtual Transform Westside Summit. Bates, an avid believer in the unifying power of high quality food, established Marddy’s to transform the health and wealth of Westside communities through delicious traditional home-cooked meals. While addressing online attendees of the summit, Bates emphasized just how sturdy a bridge healthy food can be in connecting people from totally different socioeconomic backgrounds.
Prior to executive orders from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Gov. Brian Kemp asking residents to stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19, Marddy’s brought together two groups of young Atlantans to teach them the art of agriculture. “Recently, I had the opportunity in the midst of COVID-19 to find out what happens when you mix children from one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Atlanta with children from one of the poorest neighborhoods less than six miles away,” said Bates, “and have them come together specifically to learn how to farm.”
Bates went on to discuss the positive impact the learning experience had on the youth, highlighting the many friendships that arose. Perhaps the greatest impact, though, was that the very food the young people grew with help from Marddy’s was provided to local residents who were most at risk of food insecurity once self-quarantine orders went into effect.
“That’s what happens when you mix children from the richest communities with children from some of the poorest,” said Bates. “They come up with creative solutions to solve problems and to change their experiences and create a different world.”
View Keitra Bates’s devotional message in the video below beginning at minute 16:10.