TSU Community Garden Offers Affordable Plots For Families
NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Tennessee State University is bringing new meaning to the phrase 'dirt cheap.' Their new Community Garden offers families and students a way to save money on food by growing it themselves. The new program helps families who are feeling the pinch with gas prices and food prices on the rise. For just $35.00 for a plot, folks are saving the green in their wallet with their newly discovered green thumb in the garden.
"I grew up on the farm, so I know a little bit about it, but I love to get my hands in the dirt," said North Nashville resident Dolores Wright. The fruits of her labor are plentiful as she picks through the produce. But, she wouldn't have the handful of red tomatoes or rows of homegrown vegetables without her 30 acre plot on Tennessee State University's new Community Garden off 28th Avenue.
"We have people from all walks of life, from professional, non-professionals, youth groups church groups," said student Barry Barlow. The garden offers 77 plots, each one helping 77 families in different ways. For some the soil is a classroom. "It is certainly a wonderful way to show young people that hey, long before this gets to Kroger or Wal-Mart here is where it starts," said Barlow.
For Sheri Ge, it's an opportunity to grow her native Chinese squash. "We have lots of squirrels in the backyard, and they eat our vegetables," said Ge.
And for most, it's the only way to afford fresh, organic vegetables at all. "Parents can go introduce this to their kids, and it can break the whole cycle of unhealthy eating," said Albazena Clardy, an Associate Professor of Horticulture at TSU.
It's a farm that is fighting obesity and saving families money, but for Wright, what she grows in this soil finds roots far beyond the farm.
"We knew we couldn't eat all this food, but we knew we could help individuals," said Wright. She gives buckets of homegrown goods to group homes in her North Nashville neighborhood.
"I could use some of the green peppers. I made spaghetti salad yesterday, so I will mix it up in there, so I appreciate it," said one group home cook.
Her green thumb is helping this community grow closer, and the perk that this garden allows her to give and also receive. Wright has a fridge constantly full of her produce.
Each plot is only $35, and although the community farm is completely sold out this season, they do plan to expand by next year.