A real food revolution: edible backyards


 

Keith Shaljian, coordinator for Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, sets up a stove to boil water to keep the fire ants from harming the growing vegetables. (Photo by Riyah Exum)

Keith Shaljian, coordinator for Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm, sets up a stove to boil water to keep the fire ants from harming the growing vegetables. (Photo by Riyah Exum)

Northeast Central Durham is easily associated with the term “food desert.” Food deserts are typically found in low socioeconomic communities. Places classified as this have no options for healthy affordable food.

Bountiful Backyards is an edible landscaping company in Durham, NC. They have planted over 1500 fruit trees and berry bushes over the Triangle and thousands of plants and organic vegetable gardens. Since 2006 Bountiful Backyards has planted more than 125 edible landscapes.

Angier Avenue Neighborhood Farm (AANF) is a product of Bountiful Backyards and it is right in the heart of the NECD community. This half acre lot started in spring 2012.

Keith Shaljian, coordinator of the AANF says the goal for the garden is, “To create an agricultural revolution in East Durham, so people can provide their own and need less from outside sources.”

AANF attracts members of the NECD community and currently has five leaders in the community on board. They also have ten Community Support Agriculture leaders who invest in the garden to help keep it self-supporting. AANF has five members on the garden that work and also get paid, thus potentially creating jobs in the community to further localize neighborhood wealth.

Nicholas Allen, Community Engagement Coordinator for NECD and resident, is one of the community leaders in the neighborhood.

“Once the bug bites you, you’ll be finding ways to get back out here. It’s relaxing and I learn so much from being out here,” said Allen.

AANF has community hours every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. About 20 visitors a month come in on the Saturday workdays and most are children. These community days teach the children the process of gardening from making compost, to planting seeds, tending plants and harvesting their own crops.

Bountiful Backyards is a sponsor all throughout the Triangle. They service surrounding cities and towns including Hillsborough, Pittsboro, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Raleigh, Cary and Apex.

 

Riyah Exum is a student reporter-photographer attending NCCU in Durham.


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