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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to

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Beatrice Gatebuke

FASHA (Fervent Assistance to Survivors for Healthy Adjustment)

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:

Jennifer Justus

Emily B. Hall

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

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