Ellen Roberds

20150422_Ellen Roberds 01 low res
Ellen Roberds, Creative Placemaker

Who I am…

My name is Ellen Roberds and I’m Creative Placemaker at Livable Memphis and I work in partnership with IOB—In Our Backyard.

Creative Placemaker is just a really fun title that we made up, but it’s the idea that space is important. What does it mean in our neighborhoods where space is not well-utilized? How can we help people make it more utilized? What do our neighborhoods need? What do they want?

I work with individuals who have ideas, but might have a funding need and so IOB helps with that.

And just sort of try, trying, get folks connected so they aren’t alone in the work that they’re doing.

What led me here…

I think it’s just super fun! Before this job I was at home and I wanted to do more direct work within our neighborhoods. And then this job posted.

How faith plays a role in my work…

So my background is, I’m a Presbyterian minister.

You know, this kind of a secular version of being a pixie for God. I’m interested in being playful and I think that’s pretty Godly thing.

I define healthcare as…

It’s, you know, where we eat our food, how we eat our food. I’m kind of also an environmentalist by nature and so what we do with our soil and our land and our water and food.

I’m pretty interested in healthcare access. Language is one way to sort of breakdown those barriers and in particular from prenatal to year one. When I think of healthcare, that’s usually where my brain goes healthcare for women, access.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…

The way we consider transportation.

The way we consider food. So we have a couple food issues. Access is one of them and access comes in two forms: One, not having access food, period, so we have lots and lots and lots of hungry children and the other is the type of access, of what kind of food do you have, and so we have a pretty difficult road there as well.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

I mean, the food movement in Memphis has changed dramatically in the last five to ten years.

We’re slowly changing all the markets that are popping up and they’re popping up in, you know, different parts of the city and serving different populations.

I mean there was an IOB project where they put a catfish pond to supplement their food pantry in the neighborhood.

The biggest challenge in my healthcare work is…

Economics. People have great ideas that can’t be funded. So that’s just remains a barrier, a really intense barrier.

The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…

It’s just super fun seeing these things and going out there and, and seeing the hope that they’re providing.

Learn more about Livable Memphis.

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