My name is Laura Diaz-Villaquiran. In 2007, my family and I relocated to Atlanta from Popayán, Colombia as refugees. Transitioning from living in a relatively small city (Popayán) to a mega city like Atlanta wasn’t easy.
One of the many challenges we faced when adjusting to America was acquiring healthy food. In this country, there are plenty of options to choose from, but when you lack money, transportation, and general knowledge of the area you live in, having a good diet isn’t always possible. On a trip to Tennessee, I saw people growing their own food in the US for the first time, and we ate meals full of organically grown vegetables. After that, I didn’t want to go back: I wanted to add home-grown vegetables to my diet.
Now, I am part of an urban land project in East Atlanta called the Homostead, where you will find a gray water system, solar energy, a vegetable garden, a chicken coup, a compost-able bathroom, and a fish pond. This project seeks to make knowledge of sustainable practices available to the community at no cost while providing a safe environment for gender non-conforming and LGBTQ identified people.
One of the most important things about this space for me is that it challenges me every day. Throughout my involvement in this space, I have learned a great deal about gardening, working with power tools, composting, and building. I have been building a green house from the ground up, and I intend to participate in a water remediation project in a creek that runs through the property. A few months ago, I would have never imagined myself using a hand saw or mixing concrete, but with the help of the wonderful people who work there I have been encouraged to see myself differently.
I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in learning sustainable practices to come and experience it for themselves. There are community workdays every Saturday from 1 to 5 PM. You can expect to learn new things, get your hands dirty, and take some organic locally grown vegetables home!
I am passionate about involving more Spanish speakers and Latinos in personal DIY projects like gardening, building things, and brewing Kombucha. Since I live there and attend nearly every community work day, the Homostead is now accessible to Spanish speakers. In order to make sure I am there, or to learn anything else about the Homostead, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the Homostead can be found @ their blog
Laura Diaz Villaquiran is currently studying Anthropology at Georgia Perimeter College, and plans to study Latin American Studies and Art History after transferring. She’s currently part of the Phi Theta Kappa honors society, and has been on the deans list every semester. Laura volunteers at Eye Drum art gallery in her spare time and is a lifeguard at Agnes Scott college. She is passionate about sustainability and creating educational artist spaces that are inclusive to all.
Laura is currently working on her essays to apply to Oberlin and Columbia Universities hoping to have the opportunity to learn more about Latin American history in a rigorous and socially critical academic environment.
Laura welcomes all Spanish speakers to a supportive environment that is also a safe area for LGBTQ and non-gender confirming individuals.