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‘Growin’ Good in the Hood’ plants community garden in food desert

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A project to help people produce their own healthy fruits and vegetables has launched in a neighborhood on the near-northwest side of Indianapolis.

Its goal is to teach communities how to plant, grow and have easy access to these resources.

They call it “Growin’ Good in the Hood.”

La’Kiyah Muhammad, the garden coordinator, said, “This is our love offering to the community.”

Muhammad says the name of the group has a dual meaning created by its parent organization, the KHEPRW Institute.

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“We’re growing good food in the hood, but we’re also growing good community,” she said.

The Riverside community was considered a food desert after losing its only grocery stores years ago, but, instead of waiting for another one to show up, people at the KHEPRW Institute decided to help people create the food they need.

Muhammad was chosen by the institute to spearhead the program in the Riverside community. “My commitment is what blessed me with the position,” she said. “I was asked to be the garden coordinator because they felt like I was young enough to have the energy and the spirit and the commitment to do the program.”

First, they needed full support from the neighbors. Muhammad says she knew they had her back when they started helping her keep the streets clean.

“There was a lot of litter when I first took over as the garden coordinator, but, because the community respected us so much and loved us, we have residents that literally come out of their homes and they’ll clean up now or they won’t throw trash on the corner.”

That support, along with Bobby Owens and other volunteers, will play a major role in making the project a success. He says being a part of such a project is something he always wanted to do in an effort to show a community how to become self-sustainable.

“In order to be self-sustainable, you need to learn how to grow your own food,” Owens said.

Once they show what they can do in Riverside, they plan to grow and inspire more throughout the city, continuing to grow good where good is needed most.

Growin’ Good in the Hood and other KHEPRW Institute projects are promoted on its Facebook page. Find them on Instagram at @kheprw and @growingoodinthehood.

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