ROANOKE, VA -
Goodwill and the Roanoke Community Garden Association are teaming up to open a new public garden in an area desperate for fresh food.
The Growing Goodwill Garden is located off Salem Turnpike in northwest. People can register for a plot and grow whatever they want, although they pledge not to use chemicals to help their produce grow.
Goodwill Industries of the Valleys donated the space and even put in water for the garden. The garden association will help get seeds and seedlings to families taking part. A storage area will eventually be built to hold tools and supplies.
Organizers say the garden will help build a sense of community and provide a place for Goodwill's job training and workforce development. They say the location is ideal. "It's in the middle of one of the most economically depressed communities in the region and it's also in one of the largest food deserts," explained Mark Powell with the Roanoke Community Garden Association. "People here don't have access to fresh food for several reasons. For one, there aren't any grocery stores nearby that sell a lot of fresh food and also there are economic challenges and transportation challenges."
29 families are registered right now. Powell says about a third of them have never gardened before. The hope is this project will have a great impact on kids and encourage them to grow food and eat healthy.