New group gardens in Durham aimed to enhance entry to wholesome meals ::

– A community effort in Durham is sowing opportunity by working to improve fresh food availability and physical skills for seniors.

“It’s wonderful. I love getting out of here,” said Deborah Richardson on Monday as she picked plants in the new community garden on Preiss Steele Place, a Durham Housing Authority apartment complex for the elderly and disabled.

Richardson, who has lived at Preiss Steele Place for nearly 10 years, said access to healthy food was limited in the neighborhood.

Talking to a community organizer who was providing food for residents during the pandemic helped change that.

“I think gardens offer many opportunities for people to understand that they may be producers rather than dependent consumers of food,” said Rebecca Hoeffler, a sustainability coordinator at Duke University who brought food and supplies to several DHA properties during the pandemic .

“Being able to grow your own food is something that nourishes you so much more than just food,” said Hoeffler.

She worked for months to receive a $ 6,000 grant from the Southwest Durham Rotary Club to install gardens in four locations.

“It’s so magical when a child gets upset about dirt, earth and worms,” ​​said Hoeffler. “Knowing that they can eat foods that they really grow is really the best.”

“Fresh food is better than canned food sometimes,” agreed Richardson.

Other organizations involved in the project are Volunteers of America and Slice 325.

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