Beatrice Gatebuke

FASHA (Fervent Assistance to Survivors for Healthy Adjustment)
Paragon Urban Farm - 505 Paragon Mills Road
Nashville, TN 37211
615-200-6277

Beatrice Gatebuke, a Rwandan genocide survivor, came to Nashville in 1995 when she was fifteen years old. She found inspiration for a nonprofit and urban farm when she visited a friend and fellow Nashvillian from Rwanda, then in her seventies. The woman had recently come to Nashville, and to help her acclimate to a new life where she did not speak the language or yet understand the culture, she created a small gardening space to employ the skills she had learned in her native country.

It’s a feeling Beatrice and her sister connected to as the granddaughters of a farmer. They had already been talking about the lack of access to healthy foods for immigrants and refugee communities in Nashville, so they embarked on a three-year process to create a gardening space as both a place to grow healthy food but also to assist with integration, self-reliance and sustainability.

In 2014, the sisters broke ground on the FASHA (Fervent Assistance to Survivors for Healthy Adjustment) garden on Metro Nashville flood plain property. They now have twenty gardeners on one acre from places like Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Bhutan, Somalia, Sudan, Argentina and the United States.

Date of interview:

May 11, 2016

Interviewer:

Jennifer Justus

Photographer:

Emily B. Hall


For the first two weeks I walked around mute because I didn’t understand what people said and gesturing was sometimes really hard. So I just kind of stayed to myself and hoped that eventually I’d be able to understand everyone and definitely be able to get in with the language.

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