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Feeding our neighbors in need

Spicy Peppers
            ABOUT US

Dismantling discriminatory systems while advocating for justice & equality for all is at the heart of everything we do


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growingSOUL, Sustainable Opportunities for Universal Learning, is a grassroots non-profit founded in 2009 by then-Maryland resident Jessica Weiss. The​ Chesapeake Foodshed ​region’s​ ​first​ ​Zero-Waste​ ​Food​ ​Justice​ ​program,​ growingSOUL is ​a​ ​legacy​ ​project​ ​honoring​ ​the​ ​history​ ​of ​neighbors sharing​ ​healthy​ ​fresh​ ​food​ ​with​ ​those​ ​in​ ​need​ ​seeking​ ​their​ ​freedom​ ​along the​ ​soil trails​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Underground​ ​Railroad. Our mission is to engage and assist communities in reducing hunger while simultaneously reducing food waste.


growingSOUL creates, implements and advocates for sustainable, interconnected, reciprocity-based food systems benefiting the vitality of communities and their residents as well as our planet. Our programs connect residents to one another and our earth, and in the process of growing food systems, helps grow our SOULs. Multi-generational, diverse volunteers engage hands-on, becoming lifelong-learners, connectors and part of growing a movement, instead of growing apart from it.

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What We Do

Composting and 
Food Production

Putting Stock in Our Communities
       Processing & Preserving in the Kitchen

Workforce Development, Community Engagement, Education & Advocacy

YardLink creates zero-waste food systems through small-scale urban gardening and composting utilizing low-carbon footprints, effectively growing healthy soil in which we help communities grow healthy sustainable food. 

Putting Stock In Our Communities ties together food production ~ recovery ~ preparation ~ preservation ~ donation ~ redistribution ~ and recycling. We recover seconds and process them into bone broth, soup, muffins and dehydrates that we sell with a Buy-One-Gift-One model.

EarthDefenders facilitate collaboration between government, NGO’s and the business sectors, creating partnerships leading to systemic change benefitting the community-at-large.​

 Why We Do What We Do


"The Sandy Spring site is dedicated to the past, present, and future residents of Sandy Spring in hopes the activism that has characterized the community for centuries will continue in the future. This [site] has long been a source for contemplative thought and a place to recognize that we are dependent on this land and should be watchful caretakers."   


Taken from the dedication to the spring for which Sandy Spring is named, we hope to honor the rich tradition of activism and contemplative thought as we are growingSOUL.  Our current system of food growing and distribution is irreparably broken and is having a devastating impact on the health of individuals, communities, and the planet.  We can begin to solve this crisis by moving away from the energy-wasting model prevalent in the U.S. of growing food far from its ultimate destination, thereby eliminating the resulting pollution and heavy carbon footprint such a system creates.  By teaching the principles of how to grow your own food, we believe ageism, classism, and most "isms" can be dismantled by empowering communities to have equal access to healthy food.  Ultimately we will create a new kind of diverse multi-generational organization, where young and old people from all walks of life work side by side on cooperative sustainability projects that connect, educate and nourish one another.

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