Lawrence Community Gardens is committed to growing organic produce to provide our community with equal access to fresh super foods. These families who could not normally afford it or who have limited access to healthy food will be able to get our fruit and vegetables through weekly donations, to The Cupboard and The Sharing place food pantries, through donations from our “you pick for free” section at the garden, and through donations to senior communities, youth organizations, schools, and churches in our neighborhood. We will also offer ADA accessible raised beds and a farm stand 3 days a week for those who have ebt/snap benefits and who are looking for easy and affordable access to farmer’s market style produce without the expensive price tags. We will educate our neighbors about the food through workshops, hands on activities, recipes, and volunteer opportunities.
The far eastside of Indianapolis has been labeled America’s largest food desert according to IndianaPublicMedia.org. This means that the people in my community who walk and who do not have reliable transportation, have little to no access to fresh organically grown produce. Low income families visit the pantries frequently to supplement their ebt/snap benefits and to feed their families when their incomes are not enough. These pantries receive a huge amount of support from bigger corporations but sometimes are not able to distribute the food into the community before it has started to expire. The healthy options available in the pantries are very slim and are often limited to potatoes, celery, and onions (when available), and sometimes neighbors leave the pantry feeling less than dignified from having to explain why they need their services. Our community is plagued with gas stations loaded with junk food and “you buy, we fry” type of restaurants where you purchase the food uncooked with your ebt/snap benefits and then they fry it for you for an additional $.50. None of these businesses offer healthy options for the nearby residents leading to excessive consumption of saturated fats, processed foods and sugar. Our gardens will deliver locally grown produce to the pantries weekly and is within walking distance for thousands of east side residents and local businesses. We are also working with the Marion County Health Department and the local gas stations to have a selection of fresh produce available in their establishments.
Where are you at with the solution? Implementing the solution
What resources, advice or support would be helpful for you in moving forward? Food safety is a top priority. We will need to design and build a wash station to quickly cool produce that is harvested and to wash the produce prior to donating it to the food pantries or selling it at the farm stand. We will also need to provide staff and visitors a place to relieve themselves while at the gardens, so adding a portable restroom is necessary on site.
Lead contact: Sharrona Moore