Meet Dee Dee: One of Pop Up Produce's Superstar Volunteers!

Dee Dee and Desi helping Lisa, Cas and Rosie at Pop Up Produce's Packaging of our Fresh Start Kits event.

Dee Dee and Desi helping Lisa, Cas and Rosie at Pop Up Produce's Packaging of our Fresh Start Kits event.

Dee Dee and I initially met through Instagram. I found her fascinating, genuine and interesting; she grows her own food and has her daughter, Desi, helping her! I thought wow, I have to meet this wonderful woman! I invited Dee Dee to come out to our "Packaging of our Fresh Start Kits" event where she not only volunteered her time, she also bought two Fresh Start Kits for her daughter to take home and grow. Dee Dee volunteered on one of her days off to help us educate, donate and plant 85 kits to various locations around town - our longest donated kit day! She kept a level of high energy emitting smiles all day; a true joy to be around! The children loved her and I know she had a rewarding time helping them. Dee Dee is such a superstar, she even leveraged her network allowing Pop Up Produce to be a fundraising recipient of her department at Wells Fargo's community support campaign! Way to go, Dee Dee! -- Pop Up Produce

I was born & raised in Charlotte. I’ve always had an interest in gardening that started from my family. My grandma & all of her siblings started gardens while they were growing up in Anson County, NC. They moved to Charlotte in the late 70's/ early 80's, started gardens here & have been keeping up with them ever since. My fondest memories of my youth were hanging out with my daddy while he tended to his garden. I always helped water the veggies while he did all the hard stuff. My favorite crops are summer squash & collard greens & I always ate them in season from my daddy’s garden. I have a deep love for food & where it comes from just seeing how hard my daddy worked to keep his garden up & how happy it made him. He would always pick vegetables from his garden & cook for all of us. 

Dee Dee playing in her daddy's garden.

Dee Dee playing in her daddy's garden.

Even though I enjoyed fast food occasionally, I still had the luxury of enjoying farm fresh vegetables from my house. At that time, I just didn’t realize how blessed I was to experience having an organic garden in my backyard before it became “popular” & mainstream. When I got older & started attending college, I began to realize how many people didn’t have that experience. Then when I moved back to Charlotte, I also learned that we had areas in the city where people don’t have any access to fresh food from a garden. I had trouble understanding how the largest city in NC had food deserts! 

My husband & I moved into our house & I started my own garden. I loved growing my grape tomatoes & butter lettuce this summer in order to prepare salads without having to run to the grocery store. Then with my love of cooking, I learned how to make my own salad dressings so I had control of my meal from production to consumption. Not to mention, I’m giving my daughter the same experience I had growing up in my daddy’s garden. I love seeing her wanting to help me keep my garden up. By joining Pop-Up Produce, I’ve been allowed the opportunity to share that experience with other children & help them create great memories around food which is necessary for life. 

Amanda ZulloVolunteers