NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tucked away in the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, just north of downtown, sits a nonprofit that’s planting seeds of sustainability.
If you’ve never met Nella Frierson, otherwise known as Ms. Pearl, it won’t take you long to be captivated by her energy.
“I come out in this garden, I weed; next thing you know I’m singing and dancing,” she said.
Fourteen years ago, Frierson had a dream of transforming the vacant lots across the street from her home into the Brooklyn Heights Community Garden, a space that would help people feel grounded.
“I want people to know that you come through the trauma and drama to the other side. I’m living my best life. And I wish I had-a-dressed myself up, but I’m working right now, so this is what you’re going to get,” Frierson said.
She has given hundreds of people a chance at gardening — an opportunity they otherwise wouldn’t have had.
“It’s been a food hub where people can come. You work; you eat. Food is medicine. Digging in the ground — it helps you with depression, with anxiety, helps you reconnect, helps your energy to flow,” she said.
Frierson said the garden is also about helping friendships bloom in person and online.
I’m a life coach, I’m a reflexologist, I’m a cosmetologist, I’m granny, I’m a momma, I’m a dancer. All the different parts of me come together on TikTok, baby,” she said.
When the garden first opened, there were no other grocery stores within a mile from it. So Ms. Pearl made it her mission to introduce people to a variety of fresh produce.
“Zucchini, okra, passion fruit — that’s something most people don’t eat,” she said.
For now, the plan is to keep feeding people in North Nashville, but the hope is that seeds keep blooming and expanding.
“We look at the whole community. It’s about 250 houses in this area. That’s our goal, to make sure that we can feed at least 250 people,” she said.