Better Fort Farms: Developing Urban Gardens

By Rachel Martin

February 9, 2013 Updated Feb 9, 2013 at 7:54 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – A local organization is planning the development of urban gardens to help eliminate hunger and promote integration within communities.

"This is my city, this is where I'm from and I'm tired of talking about change."

So Clint Kelly, with A Better Fort Charitable Organization, is going to be that change by developing urban gardens called "Better Fort Farms" in downtown Fort Wayne.

"When we talk about the elimination of food deserts, we're talking about providing food for people close to their homes so they get whole nutritious foods,” said Kelly. “There is a big food desert within our area that the only thing available is that convenience store where you can only buy your Cheetos and your fountain pops. Yeah, you might get bologna or hot dogs, but you're not getting wholesome foods."

The plots of land were tax sale properties that will be developed into flourishing gardens full of fruits and vegetables, in the middle of a lower-income neighborhood. One garden is located on Creighton and S. Wayne, the other on Suttenfield.

Christine Fisher hopes it will promote healthier lifestyles and bring the community together by making healthier food more attainable.

"We want to bring a new life to their neighborhood,” she said. “They already have life here, but we want to bring a sense of connection to people who might not have connected to them in the past."

They'll build that connection through a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership program, donating produce to food pantries, and selling it at Farmer's Markets. For every pound of the food they sell, they'll donate it back to the community.

"It's not cheap to go to the store and buy organic produce and produce in general. It's expensive,” said Fisher.

With the help of Purdue Master Gardeners, A Better Fort will conduct open classes to teach the community how to plant and harvest their own gardens. Kelly calls it a food revolution.

"We want to impact everybody, so adolescents, young adults, middle aged people, little grandmas that still want to come out and plant the flowers and show what they're capable of and pass on their legacies to other community members,” he said.

A Better Fort will plant their first crops in March. To learn more or to get involved with Better Fort Farms, click “A Better Fort” under News Links on our homepage.

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