Cultivating community with fresh produce

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Many residents are unaware that an organization cultivates and sells homegrown produce in the City of Lawrence. Founded and managed by Sharrona Moore, Lawrence Community Gardens are run by a mix of paid workers and student volunteers of all ages.

The gardens make fresh vegetables and fruits easily accessible to the community.

Located on a 7.6-acre farm at 9240 E. 46th St., just east of Post Road in Lawrence, Lawrence Community Gardens use a “cooperative business model to empower young people with knowledge and skills to grow food as a foundation to build a sustainable community,” according to the organization’s website. Employees and volunteers work together to run the farm and grow affordable organic produce. The farm also donates to local food pantries to provide fresh food next to shelf-stable and nonperishable items typically found in food pantries.

“Lawrence Community Gardens is really what’s needed for this community,” said Amber Toombs with Lawrence Community Gardens. “Indianapolis has something that I call ‘food apartheid.’ There’s limited access to grocery stores. There’s also very low income. A lot of people here experience health and food-related illnesses like not getting an adequate amount of sustenance.”

Lawrence Community Gardens began in 2016 when representatives for the proposed garden met with leaders at Monarch Beverage, a beer distributor on Pendleton Pike, to propose a partnership whereby the gardens would be planted on unused land owned by the distribution company. Monarch Beverage agreed, and soon the partnership began that helped the gardens thrive.

“We’re just trying to heal our community through food and get the youth involved,” Toombs said. “For me, this is a sacred space.”

Organizations such as restaurants or grocers looking to support the gardens can call 317-748-2437 or email lawrencecommunitygardens@yahoo.com to place an order. The gardens also have a roadside farmstand at the 46th Street location that is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon from June 15 through Oct. 1.

For more, visit lawrencecommunitygardens.org.

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