Community Gardens Sprouting Up and Feeding Families

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Thursday marks "Earth Day" and this year West Texans are digging a little deeper into our Basin soil. "Community Gardens" are springing up not only to save cash at the grocery store but bring families together.

It's a dream sprouting up across West Texas.

"It helps create self-sufficiency/self reliance," Matt Hanson, who is starting a Community Garden, said. "It also helps people learn how to eat better."

In place of busy grocery stores and expensive fruits and veggies, Basin growers are making plans to turn weeds into a couple dozen plots filled with fresh food and harvested by anyone who wants to pick up a shovel.

"Just in growing food on a 10 by 20 plot, people could put a big dent in their grocery bills along with getting better food," Hanson said.

Matt Hanson, who started the farmer's market in Midland, is now kicking off a new project rooted in bringing the community together one sprout at a time.

"They'll have more involvement in their immediate area and hopefully take a little pride in that and learn to connect in a time where we're more disconnected than we ever have been," Hanson said.

But it's not just about growing food for the family. These groups are hoping to pass it along to Food Banks and Soup Kitchens. In fact, the West Texas Food Bank in Odessa is well on their way to creating their own garden.

"One of the most important things our clients look for is fresh produce," Lee Pipkin, West Texas Food Bank, said. "It's essential for proper nutrition. By helping them learn to grow fresh produce, they themselves, when they're in a situation where they can, they can come up with their own garden in the backyard or flower bed."

But what might be more special than their community garden is the place where it will sit - about a half of a city block on the corner of 10th and Muskingham.

"We have clients and agencies that serve this area of town," Pipkin said. "People from this area of town know the importance of the Food Bank.  They get the Food Bank, they know it and they want to participate."