Local grocery throws support behind iGrow gardens
By Shaqueria Howard
A Tallahassee grocery store and a non-profit organization have undertaken a joint initiative that they hope will lead to healthier lifestyles in two communities that are considered food deserts.
The non-profit, Tallahassee Food Network (TFN), and Lucky’s Market announced the plan this past Thursday at an event billed as Community Impact Day. The plan calls for Lucky’s to donate 10 percent of its quarterly sales to iGrow, a gardening program run by TFN in the Southside and Frenchtown neighborhoods.
The iGrow program, which started five years ago, is aimed at getting young people involved in sustained gardening in areas where fresh produce is scarce. Participants in the program sell their produce to farmers’ markets and restaurants.
Most of the financial support from Lucky’s will go to the Southside garden, said Bakari McClendon, urban system food planner for the food network. The Southside program was established almost two years ago near the corner of Orange Avenue and South Meridian Street.
“We really want to support the South City garden because it’s new,” said McClendon. “The community in that area takes a while to catch on and that’s an area the city has targeted because of the income disparities.
“It’s a limited resource community and it’s not a lot of investment, but the city is looking to do so.”
In order to improve the Southside garden, partnerships with multiple organizations will be put in place, McClendon said. That was the same approach that ramped up the Dunn Street youth farm in Frenchtown.”
Jahmya Smith, a ninth-grader at Godby High School, was glad that she had an opportunity to experience Community Impact Day.
“This is a very educational experience,” she said. “I love being here with the volunteers.”
During the event, iGrow took the gardening experience further. The organization teamed up with FAMU’s School of Business and Industries to stage Lemonade Day, with the idea of showing the young people that farming could lead to a business.
“We’re showing them how to present your product, price your product and this (lemonade stand) is an extension of that,” said McClendon. “We’re really excited about it because we’re focusing on empowerment in young women to pursue entrepreneurship.
“There’s a gap in that area. There are more men that pursue (entrepreneurship) than women. We want to focus specifically on empowering young ladies.”