Gardening in the Desert

Mercy Junction is gardening in the desert — a food desert.

According to the USDA: “Food deserts are defined as urban neighborhoods and rural towns without ready access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Instead of supermarkets and grocery stores, these communities may have no food access or are served only by fast food restaurants and convenience stores that offer few healthy, affordable food options. The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.”

We started planting in early March in raised beds behind Renaissance Presbyterian Church, 1211 Boynton Dr, Chattanooga, TN 37402.

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Mercy Junction’s Morgan Koch hauling top soil for the garden

So far we have planted several different types of greens, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, herbs, and raspberry and blackberry bushes. We have also started seeds for a variety of vegetables. We’ll be planting strawberries, potatoes, beans and more in the upcoming weeks. We’ve also set up rain barrels to collect water for the garden.

Food from the garden will be given to those who live in Chattanooga’s food deserts. Any surplus produce will be shared with other programs that provide free food to people in our community.

We need volunteers!

We’re working in the garden every Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, as spring rolls into summer, we’ll need volunteers daily to tend to watering and weeding.

If you’d like to help us with the gardening, please join us any Monday evening. For more information, email beth.foster@chattaction.org or call 423-457-2519.

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Mercy Junction’s Austin Young and William Nix planting berry bushes.

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