Renea Winchester

Renea IMG_9903Written by Jennifer Colosimo | Photo by Derek Wintermute

There’s no shame in a fried bologna sandwich.”

That’s the first line of “In the Garden with Billy: Lessons about Life, Love & Tomatoes,” Renea Winchester’s new culture-inspired cookbook. Farmer Billy Albertson, one of Winchester’s closest friends, joins her as a guest speaker at local schools, demonstrating simple methods that will help youth learn how to grow their own food.

Winchester also grows vegetables that are delivered to the homeless and distributes backpacks filled with food, books and supplies to homeless students in the Fulton County School District.

“[She] believes that we truly can bloom where planted, and that one person can make a difference in the life of another,” wrote Amber Lanier Nagle of her nominee.

This philosophy parallels perfectly with Winchester’s stand on literacy — one that comes with the idea of being cultured and hopes to give everyone a chance at the same levels of education.

“I didn’t know until about three years ago that my grandfather couldn’t read,” said Winchester, whose mother took her and her brother to the library every week when they were growing up. “I had an emotional breakdown.”

She is now one of the community’s biggest advocates for libraries — getting books on their shelves, increasing
the hours they’re open and allowing access to resources for everyone.

“Libraries are much more than books,” she said. “They’re basically the grassroots movement for literacy. We don’t think about the fact that people can’t read, because they’ve adapted. But what happens when children have to use the Internet for their homework, and the library is closed? Or an adult has to apply for a job online?”

Her stance challenges others, specifically other writers and authors, to see the need in their own community. “There are three types of people: those that can give money, those that can ask for money and those that are willing to callous their hands. Everyone is one of those,” she said. “All you have to do is ask. They’ll rarely disappoint you.”

Hair and makeup by Studio NV Salon | Lace-Hem Pants and Lace Tunic with Camisole from Bohemia | Shane Co. 14K Italian yellow gold circle-tiered necklace and matching earrings; sterling silver gold-plated chain; 14K yellow gold diamond ring, chain link bracelet and three-stone ring

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