Community garden to provide free produce

Published On: Apr 26 2014 02:37:07 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2014 07:23:50 PM CDT

Low-income families in Wichita will have easier access to fresh foods thanks to the construction of a new community garden.

Groups of volunteers spend most of Saturday morning building the new garden at 1121 N. Green Street. Organizers plan to plan a variety of vegetables ranging from tomatoes and squash, to cucumbers and even strawberries. The goal is not only to provide fresh, free produce for low-come families living in that community, but also to teach them the important of gardening and how to become more self-sufficient.

"The population around here is very diverse but it's for anyone who may need some help with groceries," said Brandon Johnson, the co-founder and executive director of CORE in Wichita. "Groceries cost so much these days and this will be a great relief for them on that. It helps feed people which is the most important thing to me and it helps teach people responsibility. You learn how to take care of yourself, if you don't have food you can grow food."

Some of the residents said they've used community gardens in town before, but it's nice to know they have one in their own community now, for some, less than a block away.

"I think it's great because I go to the other community gardens and I love to cook greens so I think it's great. It's two houses down from me," said Natalie, one area resident. "The way the world is today, people forget about those who are in need so I think it's very important."

Not only is the garden designed to help save community members money on groceries, organizers said once it's completely constructed and growing strong, it will also help beautify the area.

"There's so much blight in the area and this is going to be a beautiful thing over here, one of the most beautiful things outside of a new house," said Johnson. It's something that will unite the community so I think all around from the food to just visually, it will help uplift this community."

Money to build and operate the garden comes from donations from individuals and businesses in town. Johnson said he and other groups of volunteers will be out working in the garden weekly to help maintain the produce.