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.