From hundreds of hours spent in community conversation and brainstorming, the vision of The Commons Cenand brainstorming, the vision of The Commons Center for Food Security and Sustainability was born. The infrastructure of this project is The Commons located at 501 E 13th St, Silver City, NM. Opened in April 2012, the vision was that The Commons would provide emergency and supplemental food distribution, indoor and outdoor teaching space, community gardens, greenhouses, commercial kitchen, and serve as a demonstration site for permaculture principles, water catchment, solar and green building, culturally and geographically appropriate food and herb growing, seed saving and plant starts, social enterprise, and sustainable economic development. The goal was to use locally grown, healthy, nutritious foods as the building blocks of transformational change.“In bringing forth life from the earth, we sow the seeds of hope and opportunity. When we build gardens together, we build community together; when we feed each other, we feed ourselves; with our hands in the soil together, we are all connected.
What you see today at 501 East 13th Street is the manifestation of that vision in action. In the last eight years, thousands and thousands of volunteer hours have made the vision possible.
Originally, The Commons was called The Volunteer Center of Grant County and was formed as a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization in 2004. The mission was “To mobilize the volunteer human resources in Grant County to meet the needs of the community.” The purpose of the organization was to match volunteers with opportunities to use their expertise, time, and energy to expand, improve, operate or create programs, services, and projects that build community while meeting the needs of Grant County. Along the way, it became obvious the primary underlying issue people were dealing with was poverty and closely connected to that, food insecurity. In response to these issues, in Oct 2008, The Volunteer Center launched the “Lift Every Voice” project to eradicate hunger and poverty in Grant County. Starting with a series of town hall meetings held in communities across the county, TVC facilitated groups of people to discuss hunger and poverty and work on solutions such as community gardens, a food pantry, senior nutrition issues, and children’s nutrition issues and local, sustainable economic development.