Harvesting Community at North+Northside

Harvest Fest 2017 was a celebration of something bigger than the turning of the seasons. The University Financing Foundation (TUFF) and Gateway partnered with Sandbox ATL to gather the community working on the westside of Georgie Tech for a lunch to celebrate the Fall season.

The double treat of a Blue Ribbon Competition for makers and bakers and Food Cart Midway featuring Doggy Doggy and Cult Carts was just the appetizer. The  main course was a Half-Mile Charity on a pop-up walking path connecting the North Avenue Research Area (NARA) and Technology Enterprise Park (TEP), thereby linking the previously isolated properties with one other to foster greater health and collaboration.

"How do we think through how we connect the west side to what's happening here [at TEP and NARA]?" questioned Frank Fernandez, Harvest Fest Parade Marshall and VP of Community Development at the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation. 

Part of that connection was selecting a local nonprofit Chris 180 to be the beneficiary of the event.

"At Chris 180, we help children, adults, and families who have experienced trauma change the direction of their lives," shared Brittany Burnett, Chris 180's VP of development. The non-profit, which focuses on mental health services, recently opened the @ Promise Center a new facility four blocks away from the research park focused on workforce training, GED tutoring, and other services to help teens on the verge of homelessness rise above their circumstances.  

The event culminated in a triumphant walk along the half-mile path and across the former railroad bridge for guided tours of NARA and TEP.  This one-day experiment was a hit and will help inform a permanent version of the path in 2018, which could eventually tie into the newly create PATH Foundation bicycle paths along Luckie Street and Tech Parkway leading to the BeltLine.