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Indy family’s garden-turned-business provides fresh produce to community

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A family farm is literally feeding into the community. The Elephant Gardens provides fresh food to families living in one of many food deserts in the city.

It’s a business with a culmination of love for family and community. When this family moved to this community near 34th Street and Sherman Drive, access to fresh groceries and food was actually a lot easier. While this started as a way to feed the family, they noticed inadequacies that required them to expand.

The Elephant Gardens began when the family bought a patch of land in 2006, and with matriarch Joyce Randolph at the front, this family has toiled the soil.

“We just put things in the ground and walk by faith because we have no control after we put the seed in the ground,” co-owner Joyce Randolph said.

The plan for a garden was her daughter, Vivian Muhammad’s, idea to feed the family homegrown, organic veggies. However, in 2016, the plan changed, opening the garden to customers.

“When the Double Eights closed, it heightened the community awareness of the need for food, and the discussion on food access became more pronounced,” Muhammad said.

It was more than just a decision. It was something that needed to be done.

“The need to help my community as it pertains specifically to health. It really is the driving force behind what we do and why we continue to do it even when we feel discouraged.”

The family moved to this community 50 years ago. Randolph said back then, there were grocery stores all around. So the food insecurity that is seen now wasn’t an issue.

“The closing of these grocery stores recently and not replacing them with neighborhood grocery stores has really been a deterrent to our people,” Randolph said.

The family has several plots: two near 34th and Sherman and another in Lebanon. That’s where they grow the food for their mobile “farmacy,” while also making produce available with SNAP, freshbucks and WIC benefits.

“It’s a very humbling experience to just be able to be a part of the solution in the area where we live,” Randolph said.