In 2018, the City of Jackson was named a Bloomberg Public Art Challenge winner. Originating in the Planning Department, Fertile Ground: Inspiring Dialogue about Food Access aimed to inform policy related to nutrition by using art as a medium to communicate the complexities of the issue in the city. daniel johnson performed a social practice work centering relationship building and community advocacy in his role facilitating the City to collaborate with the community of Galloway Elementary.
The core of the work was the establishment of a Site Council consisting of students, teachers, administrators, project artists, and local community organizations working on behalf of Galloway families. Meeting monthly, this group was able to offer feedback in the ongoing development of the project, advise on communications with the wider community, and support or integrate into each others initiatives beyond Fertile Ground. In addition to the monthly meetings, this group organized together to host a Back to School Wellness Fair and an Opening Ceremony for the new Galloway Learning Garden.
Intrinsic to the work was ensuring the pre-existing Galloway community could originate their own efforts as part of the overall project. To this end, johnson was available to develop classroom visits to fit current lessons, johnson organized and taught an accredited professional development workshop, an independent parent group was intiated at the Principal’s recommendation, a monthly teacher appreciation program was established, and teacher mini-grants were awarded.