M. Dominique Villanueva - Executive Director
Natural woman, do-er, grounded activist teacher mama, living room dancing queen.
Christopher Gooden - Farm Director
Natural man, botanist, foodie-food producer, teacher, Big Baba.
Read about Fountain Heights Farms
Fountain Heights Farms started as a whispered conversation between myself, Chris, and two extraordinary Black women I worked with in 2016. We dreamt about a Black centered space where we could grow healthy food, teach and learn with our community, and have a real ownership stake and benefit from the emotional, mental, and physical labor that we we providing to our then employer. We dreamed of a space that would be for us, by us, to benefit us and then slowly began to manifest it.
In 2017 we had the opportunity to meet some wonderful generous spirits at Edible Schoolyard who would end up being our listening ears, confidants, and first supporters of our dream. These folks, strangers and kindred spirits, encouraged us to keep fighting, and started providing the tools, money, quiet support from all angles, and resources for our dream to grow. Each of us was supplied with $1,500 of unrestricted funds with the belief that we would do what was right and necessary for us. I'm still so grateful for those funds and the spirit in which they were given, especially because we were working in such a toxic and racist work environment, full of distrust and micro aggressions paired with the extra emotional labor demanded of us, 3 of the 4 women of color who had ever been employed at this particular multimillion dollar nonprofit. Although I immensely enjoyed the work, it was THE most difficult work environments I've ever had to navigate and was quickly spiraling further and further downward. Oh the stories we could tell!
Those funds, provided by a sister we had only just met, were the investment we needed to further our education and put a down payment on a vacant tax delinquent lot in the underserved neighborhood of Fountain Heights. We had land! We took a short road trip to neighboring Georgia to attend the Black Urban Gardeners (BUGS) conference in Atlanta and met with and were inspired by the many farmers from the diaspora. It felt like freedom to laugh, commiserate, struggle, and overcome with farmers and earth lovers who we could identify with. We returned with our cups refilled and began putting together plans for the farm. Although our sisterhood has led us in different directions, I am forever grateful for the camaraderie of my two former co-workers and friends. They held and warmed and planted the seed of what today is the thriving Fountain Heights Farms.