Norfolk

Norfolk org uses community garden to sow seeds of change

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) -- A Norfolk organization is using a community garden to sow seeds of change.

Teens With a Purpose started gardening a lot of land in 2017 at the corner of Olney and Church Street.

Founder Deirdre Love says the idea sprang up back in 2013 when one of the teens, who was a resident of Young Terrace, wanted to develop the gravel lot.

Love says last year, with the help of sponsors, they were able to get the project approved by the city.

And ever since, it’s grown.

“Just over time, just being diligent, believing in what we could do, seeing what working in a garden and green spaces in the middle of a concrete community makes a difference,” she said about the impact.

In June, Keep Virginia Beautiful awarded the organization a $1,000 grant for the creative space.

Love said that it’s inspiring to see all the hard work pay off.

“That’s confirmation. That’s another yes, keep going. Yes, you’re doing the right thing. It feels great!” she said.

And that’s not the only thing the organization is feeling good about.

Every Wednesday, locals come out and pick the fresh vegetables and fruits that are grown in the garden.

Love said that more people are stopping by and asking questions.

That includes Michael Ricks, who brought his daughter for the first time.

He believes the garden offers more than just gardening lessons for those who till it and benefit from it.

“Patience, perservance, troubleshooting, team work, and community,” he said.

Ricks said he also hopes it will teach his daughter more about healthy eating and that it puts seeds of hope into a community many may believe is stereotyped.

“Hope is hard to come by nowadays, but to see a group of individuals invested in a community at risk, it’s a breath of fresh air,” he said.

It’s providing a breathe of fresh air and also fresh produce to those living in Young Terrace. Love and others pass out what’s left on harvesting days to residents in the community.

Love said that this shows that everything needed to build a community up is already there and they’re hoping other organizations can create the same spaces.

“The thing we want to grow in the garden is way more than food and flowers. It’s to grow our community and to grow us closer together,” she said.

If you would like to participate, Teens With a Purpose welcomes visitors on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The organization said it is also working on a pilot horticulture program for ten kids to help out with the garden.

For more information, visit http://www.twpthemovement.org/.


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