TreeCycle program at TNU helps community with dual support

| Mission

TreeCycle_HS Blog

No matter which direction you travel heading away from Trevecca’s campus, you can access an interstate. This may make for quick connections, but the impact of so much traffic also takes a toll on the community. There are not enough trees to offset the pollution caused by the interstate traffic, and the amount of land devoted to holding space for the interstates has limited the amount of green space for area neighborhoods. 

“The sector of 37210 surrounding campus is labeled as a food desert, meaning our neighbors do not have access to enough healthy fruits and vegetables and have limited resources to acquire healthy food,” said Trevecca Director of Grants and Foundation Relations Janice Lovell. 

“Many of our neighbors also have no reliable mode of transportation and have to rely on walking, hitching a ride or taking limited lines of public transportation. Our desire to help address both of these concerns led to the founding of TreeCycle and the beginning of a partnership with AmeriCorps,” Lovell said.  

“The work of our urban farm is to build a food system that works for everyone and heals the earth,” Trevecca Urban Farm Director Jason Adkins said. “We train students in the community, along with Trevecca students, in how to care for the environment, raise healthy foods, and provide a mode of transportation by refurbishing bicycles.” 

Created through a grant established by the Metro-Davidson County Department of Health, TreeCycle helps address health disparities in Davidson County by focusing on:

  • Planting edible fruit and nut trees around the community. 
  • Refurbishing and donating bicycles to provide a mode of reliable transportation for neighbors without a vehicle. 

“The AmeriCorps VISTA members who partner with Trevecca create more capacity for us to do this work,” Lovell said. “They are responsible for recruiting volunteers and funding. VISTA members keep the machine well oiled and help us get the resources to keep this mission going. They also make participation on the farm easier and accessible for students and youth in the community to work. It is a productive partnership.”