Established in 1789 as the nation's first public university, UNC has long been devoted to education. UNC provides students with the space and resources to develop themselves intellectually, socially, and morally by supporting individual interests both inside and outside of the classroom. 

UNC Campus Y

The Campus Y has been one of the most vibrant student organizations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Through student dedication and commitment, the Y is a leader in on-campus discussion and dialogue and off-campus service and activism. The Y hosts a variety of diverse committees and special projects that focus on a social justice issue.

UNC Edible Campus

Edible Campus UNC is a new initiative to incorporate edible, medicinal, and pollinator-friendly plants into existing landscape features on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. This project is intended to increase educational opportunities at the university around food and agriculture sustainability. The Edible Campus initiative consists of several components, including educational outreach, a central demonstration garden, and incorporation of educational plants into the campus landscape planting palette.

CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

The Community Empowerment Fund (CEF) acts as a bridge between banks and shelters, connecting low-income individuals to savings opportunities. Members of CEF can often be found in attendance at Hope Gardens potlucks and participating in Hope Cooks.

IFC: Inter-Faith Council for Social Service

The Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) mobilizes the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community to “address homelessness, hunger, and economic disparities.” The IFC offers a variety of services including the Community Kitchen, the Food Pantry, HomeStart, Community House, Crisis Intervention, and the Robert Nixon Free Clinic. Hope Gardens’ mission of food access is embodied by many of the actions taken by the IFC. Hope Gardens’ staff frequently volunteer at HomeStart, the women and children’s shelter, cooking and teaching nutrition to the families there.

The Arc of Orange County

The Arc of Orange County serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It offers services including employment opportunities, wellness programs, and fun, educational classes. Petals with a Purpose creates beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers each week and donates them to local causes. Hope Gardens has been one recipient of these wonderful flower arrangements as they have helped to decorate our potlucks. The Arc is also one of many community gardeners at Hope Gardens.

The Jackson Center

The Jackson Center is a public history and community development center located at the gateway to the historic Northside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Today they are among the most racially, ethnically, and economically diverse neighborhoods in the region. Hope Gardens will be supporting the Jackson Center with their community garden initiative and the Herban Garden will be working closely with Heavenly Groceries, their food ministry.

Street Teen Center

The Street Scene Teen Center is a community space that hosts programs for middle and high school students, the Teen Youth Council, and local youth.  It was created to provide young adults in Chapel Hill with a safe and engaging space to congregate. Located under the Post Office on Franklin Street, the Teen Center hosts an after-school tutoring program for middle-school students through the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department.

Burt's Bees The Greater Good Foundation

The Greater Good Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to sustaining charitable, grassroots initiatives that support human and honeybee health. Hope Gardens received a grant from The Greater Good Foundation to help expand the reach of our organization.


Mission: Herban is a Hope Gardens' partner that engages people of color in sustainable agriculture through hands-on experience and community engagement with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented people interested and engaged in sustainable agriculture.


  • Sustainable Communities
  • Healthy Minds and Bodies
  • Self-sufficiency and leadership
  • Environmentalism

Herban Leadership Team

Giszell Weather, OG Berry Bush, is a UNC graduate with a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology. The Herban Garden was birthed from her interest in the connections between land, food, and people of color across the glove. Since May of 2015, she has been refining the vision for Herban Garden as a pathway to support the larger food and environmental justice movements. Giszell loves the plant-based lifestyle and hopes to have a homestead with 3 horses, 5 chickens, 2 dogs, a greenhouse, and a dance studio. 

Mickaela Smith, MC Comfrey, is a rising junior at UNC, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Chemistry. She stumbled upon Herban Garden in Spring 2017 after attending a Hope Gardens meeting. Ever since then, she has fallen in love with the mission of Herban Garden and decided to continue working with the committee throughout the summer. Meanwhile, Mickaela is in the process of pursing her dream to  become  a infectious disease specialist! 

Danesha Byron



  • For local resources related to Education, Employment, Finances, Food, Housing, Rent, Healthcare, Legal assistance, Trans, or Latinos visit Chapel Hill's Community Empowerment Fund resource database here.