As community gardens grow in popularity, the residents of the King Rows Apartments in Sunnyside recently won a “Love Your Block” grant from the City of Houston to start their own vegetable garden.
Jean Gabriel runs an after-school program in the area, which gave her the idea for getting local kids to grow their own vegetables.
“They get free hot dinners every day and I noticed that they didn’t eat the vegetables very well. And I said you know these children just don’t know the labor, the work that it takes to produce these vegetables. So let’s just get us a garden so they can see how somebody had to make sure that the bugs didn’t eat it before they got it and maybe with that — they’ll take pride in it. And they’re going to be excited when they see a tomato, they’re gonna be … I grew this tomato!”
The grant was only $500, but Gabriel says they also got donations which made it possible to start containers with two peach trees, lots of vegetables and a patch of flowers.
Khalilah Johnson has lived in the apartment complex for 12 years. She has four kids, ages 16, 15, 14 and 12. This is their first experience with gardening.
“It’s helped my kids a lot. It’s helped them learn and how to behave at school and how to act around adults and how to get along with other kids. So it’s helped them a lot.”
The kids will work in teams of two kids per container and they’ll share the produce with their families. The King Rows apartment complex houses families, including 123 single moms and 362 children.