Foraging for kale at Nathan Deal’s house

Writer Catherine Lamb approached the Governor's Mansion about harvesting kale plants flanking Nathan Deal's front gates. The Governor obliged. She donated the greens to an area church that offers free meals to the needy.

Writer Catherine Lamb approached the Governor’s Mansion about harvesting kale plants flanking Nathan Deal’s front gates. The Governor obliged. She donated the greens to an area church that offers free meals to the needy.

BY CATHERINE LAMB

As I drove up to the security checkpoint at the Governor’s Mansion in swanky Buckhead, I mentally prepared myself to be turned away. After all, I had a rather odd request: to pick some kale from the plants flanking Gov. Nathan Deal’s front gates.

I pleaded my case to grounds supervisor Joey Duffy, who told me that, no, I couldn’t take any kale that was currently growing, as it was being used as ornamentation. However, they were pulling the greens up in a few days, and, after that, I could take as many whole plants as I liked.

The following Tuesday, I again drove up to the gates of the Governor’s Mansion. “The girl is here for the kale,” radioed the security guard, ushering me through. I was directed to a massive, neatly piled mound of greens, about 3 feet high and 5 feet square. I set to sorting through the heap, selecting the least wilted specimens of red Russian, lacinato and curly kale. When my trunk refused to fit another leaf, I drove away — though the pile I left behind seemed barely diminished.

At a loss with how to use more than 20 pounds of kale, I called Concrete Jungle, an urban foraging collective based in Atlanta. After learning my location, they pointed me toward Mercy Community Church, which offers open meals four days a week. I washed, dried and bundled the kale into manageable portions and drove them to the church, leaving the greens with Chad Hyatt, co-pastor and founder of Mercy, who seemed truly excited to see my bags of brassicas.

Read more about Catherine Lamb’s kale foraging adventure here.

 

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