Meet Darren Chapman–
Darren is a community pro-activist who has committed his life to helping people. He is Founder and CEO of TigerMountain Foundation (TMF), which has implemented Empowerment Initiatives to uplift communities and eliminate blight. TMF’s initiatives are community garden, landscaping development, audio, visual and performance art, community service and volunteerism.
Darren is Community Garden Director for Spaces of Opportunity, which is a community initiative of Desert Botanical Garden.
Darren’s motto is to change one mind and attitude at a time, encouraging all who have been touched to pay it forward, which will undoubtedly make the immediate and surrounding community and world a better place to live. Darren is from South Central Los Angeles and grew up in L.A. and Phoenix. He currently resides and works in South Phoenix and the Phoenix Metro area.
Tell us why you are passionate about horticulture, botany and working with the community?
I grew up with my grandparents who had a garden in their L.A. CA. backyard. We had plums, avocados, peaches and lemons and limes, our fences were adorned with berries and we had carrots and every green (mustard, turnip, collards, kale, chard) under the sun in our garden, along with 5 to 7 greyhounds and a hound dog named Duke. The community would always come to discuss community affairs, trade their wares (other produce, rabbit fur) for our garden fresh produce
How does Spaces positively impact the Phoenix Community?
Spaces is a place that is open to the hyper local to metro public to share ideas, eat and grow better together and engage in stronger community initiative and narrative around a healthier lifestyle and more active living.
What are you most proud of, of the work you are doing at Spaces?
I am most proud of the fact that our work at Spaces is allowing the one thing that is easily talked about but most often escapes our efforts and that is Spaces allows inclusivity, diversity and inclusion to happen proactively, every week in real time.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History month for me is every month. Black History is a recognition of beautiful human beings like myself (a systemically challenged but liberated Black/Indigenous man) and many of the incredible folks that I work with…while honoring the griots, change-makers and pro activists that came before us.
Learn more about Spaces of Opportunity, engineering a comprehensive, neighborhood-level food system where gardeners, farmers and farm workers are celebrated as artisans. Spaces is transforming a food desert to a food oasis through the coordination of a 10-acre incubator farm, family gardens and an on-site farmers market.
FARMERS MARKET: Our Harvest/Nuestra Cosecha Farmers Market and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription is a cooperative agreement between farmers who grow without chemicals, market their produce primarily in South Phoenix and work together with mentor farmers. For more information, contact Tawsha at 480.270.9414.
VOLUNTEER: Join us every second Saturday at Spaces for Community Work Days led by TigerMountain Foundation. To sign up, contact Darren at 213.300.8846.
COMMUNITY GARDENING: For $5 a month, community members can rent a plot to plant, grow and harvest produce for their own use, or to share with others. Regular events are also held at the community garden to celebrate food, diverse culture and community. For more information, contact Bruce at 602.826.9824.