Life Connected

Life Connected

Sharing the connections among Southern Californians       |       Sunday at 11PM on NBC4 News

Life Connected: Students Help Inject Life Into Inglewood's Food Desert

Urban gardens are sprouting up across the city as part of an effort to bring healthy, organic food to more LA families.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thanks to urban gardens, the students' community has the chance to take charge of its health. Inglewood has for years been considered a food desert, or a city with little or no access to grocery stores that offer fresh, affordable, healthy foods. And that's a disappointment that's lead to action. John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2012.

    There's something sprouting in Inglewood, and it's so simple, a 7 year old can explain it.

    "We grow vegetables," said Michee, a student at Warren Lane Elementary School.

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    Buritius, 8, goes a step further. "We grow seeds and soil so we can make vegetables and then we can be strong."

    Thanks to urban gardens, the students’ community has the chance to take charge of its health. Inglewood has for years been considered a food desert, or a city with little or no access to grocery stores that offer fresh, affordable, healthy foods. And that's a disappointment that's lead to action.

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    Lazarrius Taylor’s probation after a robbery arrest at age 14 involved his joining the Brotherhood Crusade mentoring program. The organization sent him to Africa, where he says he learned to appreciate life and understood that he had the ability to help others. "I felt like Kobe Bryant out there," Lazarrius laughs.

    "With disappointment comes opportunity," said Derek Steele, of the Social Justice Learning Institute, whose program dubbed 100 Seeds of Change is helping Inglewood move toward a healthier future.

    "We're working to start 100 community, school and home gardens in the city," Steele said, adding that many residents of Inglewood have already signed on to learn how to grow vegetables in their own gardens and then share with others who take part in the program.

    Warren Lane is just one school with a gardening program. Students have planted, watered and will soon pick the vegetables which will then be distributed to those who have signed up for the program.

    The cost ranges from $10 to $20 depending on whether customers buy a box or a bag.

    "It's affordable organic," said Kendra Richardson, who fosters her own home garden. “It’s something the whole family can do, like my kids out there digging in the dirt with me.”

    Jennifer Fox volunteers with the Social Justice Learning Institute.

    "What's really awesome," she said, "is that I know where it's coming from. I know it's organic, who the farmers are. I helped grow some of this, harvest some of it."

    The program is only a year old so Muir Ranch in Pasadena helps supplement some of the food. But the hope is to eventually be self-sufficient citywide. There are currently 11 gardens in Inglewood, but the goal is 100.

    "We're trying to create a social enterprise around growing food in our own space," Steele said. "We want to grow enough food to have healthy food options for people who live in this community and beyond."

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