Pop Up Produce Founder is One of 6 Women Awarded for NC SHEROES
In honor of Women’s History Month, Kelle Pressley-Perkins of QC Supermom and Moms Rising! put together an awards ceremony and panel at the Beatties Ford Library for NC SHEROES. This past Saturday, I was one of six women honored at this year’s NC SHEROES for my work creating and implementing Pop Up Produce. Each woman was honored for their unique ability; all were recognized with their shared goal of creating a better world and being a positive role model for young women.
The event commenced with a dress up activity for the children, prompting them to think creatively about “what would they like to be when they grow up?” From astronaut to policeman, doctor to firefighter, the children enjoyed fantasizing about their future and their own personal contribution to creating a better world. Cynthia Hill, from The Fresh Foundation, conducted a story time for the families and children and shared with the audience about the upcoming Fresh Expo, encouraging all to attend this free and health focused event. Being that Pop Up Produce is one of the vendors at the Fresh Expo, I was really excited about the communal collaboration and positive synergy in the room; all these amazing women coming together to help and support one another!
Each SHERO introduced themselves to the audience, explaining the work they are doing with their organizations and companies. The audience was able to ask the women on the panel questions relating to their work. On behalf of Pop Up, one of my favorite questions asked from a young male in the audience (who, by the way is awesome, and we initially met last September when we planted seeds together with his wonderful mom, Kelle who put on NC SHEROES, and brothers at Druid Hills Community Garden!) was, “What is my favorite fruit or vegetable?” You’d think this would come easy to me right? But the problem is, I absolutely love eating food, and healthy food of course! I did mention tomatoes and basil; my 100% Italian heritage can’t deny it (and with my mom in the room I had to mention her delicious homemade sauce!). I’m also an avid fan of eggplant and mushrooms as they are great alternatives to more meat based dishes (eggplant parmesan and portabella burgers are delicious!). I also added how important it is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as “eating the rainbow” will ensure your body receives the proper range of nutrients; a fried meal of chicken, fries and a biscuit may leave you full and sleepy, but with no nutritional value (sorry, Bojangles!).
The six women awarded included:
- Chautauqua Ellison, Executive Director for I Am My Sister (NC and SC chapters)
- Amanda Zullo, Founder and Owner of Pop Up Produce
- Nakisa Glover, National Climate Justice Organizer for Hip Hop Caucus
- Je’lah Singleton, teenage female DJ and D-Jè Boogie
- Flo Ward, Owner of We Chic’d It!
- Judith Wilson, Founder of Foodie4AccessCLT and President of The Single, Saved and Serious Movement
It was such a wonderful event to be in the presence of such inspiring female figures. I felt truly honored to be acknowledged for something that a year ago was merely a seed concept germinating in my mind, and today has already accomplished more than I initially anticipated. I knew I wanted to have an impact in my community, create a better world, and use the skills I know (and didn’t know) to push me, challenge me, and enable me to grow, while inspiring others to do the same. It’s amazing looking back on how far Pop Up Produce has grown in less than a year; I could only imagine in a year from now what Pop Up Produce will become!
As I stood in the room, holding my SHERO award, it dawned on me how many of Pop Up Produce’s partners, sponsors and collaborators are predominantly women. I love and appreciate you all! Rather than focusing on individualized personal achievements, I admire and appreciate our willingness and determination to work together towards a greater good. I’m grateful for my NC SHERO award and I’m grateful for the strong, encouraging support from other like-minded individuals. Thank you to my family, friends, mentors, partners, supporters, volunteers, sponsors. The positive, nurturing environment in which we are able to connect and thrive is creating such a beautiful display of compassion in our community. I look forward to our continued growth and impact!