Alton Park residents growing their own food this summer

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Residents who live at or near Emma Wheeler homes live in a “food desert.”

That means they live more than a mile from a grocery store.

Many lack transportation.

Ester Avelar is one of the volunteers who’s goal is to help people with their need for healthy foods.

“We’ve been in need ourselves, and we know what it feels like not to be able to provide for your family, uh, for awhile I was a single mom with three kids. And uh, one thing that always helped us was to be able to grow our own food.”

A combination of community groups including the Alton Park Development Corporation, started the garden a couple of weeks ago, and the fruits of those efforts are already starting to show up.

“Squash growing right here, ouch, kind of prickly, but they’re doing great!”

Seed funding was provided by Dr. Anuj Chandra.

His daughter, Anjali, founded the nonprofit Global EXCEL a decade ago.

Part of it’s mission is to empower children.

Dana Sweeten works in the doctor’s office.

She and the other volunteers have strong reasons for being here.

Volunteer Dana Sweeten says “To help enable underprivileged children and people to be uh, not just enabled, but to be able to provide for themselves.”

Radio Host Terry Neal says “To show them how to survive. Actually, survival tactics and we just want to try to teach them, and let people understand there is a way to survive even in hard times.”

Cory Galarza worked with the neighborhood kids on the project.

“Watching the little kids grow is actually a very good positive sign for the community. It’s really nice to see these kids with their enthusiasm, because that means that they want this, and they want to have a better life.”

Volunteer William Greene says “I remember my first day here, without even noticing or asking, the kids were just so energetic and they came straight up, they didn’t want anything, they didn’t ask for anything in return, they just genuinely wanted to help.”

The goal is to teach the kids how to cultivate a garden so they can eventually start one of their own.

SWEETEN concludes “If there’s a big community garden out here, hey, what’s better than fresh fruit and vegetables?”

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *