TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A Terre Haute pastor hopes to improve her neighborhood through food.
The Hope Garden, along 19th Street, is growing in popularity. It is in a neighborhood considered a food desert, meaning it can be difficult for people to access healthy food.
Spruce Street Community Church Pastor Tess Stephens is taking the food grown in the Hope Garden and moving it inside what was once the church parish. It is being transformed into a community center which includes a commercial kitchen.
Pastor Stephens says,"We're hoping to take the fresh vegetation in Hope Garden and bring it into the kitchen and show people how to prepare meals with fresh vegetables, how to can fresh vegetables and those kinds of things that would aid them in healthy eating."
Work is nearly complete on the Hope Kitchen of Knowledge. Pastor Stephens has partnered with reTHink, a non-profit working to reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills. Together, the goal is to create stability and break generational poverty through programs like cooking classes.
reTHink Resource Manager Gina Walls says, "Adults, they're already set in their ways. They prefer to go and buy a bag of chips and McDonald's than to plant some tomatoes. But if we start with the little kids, they will learn how to create their own food."
Pastor Stephens says the kitchen could be ready for a grand opening by the end of October.
When that project is complete the work continues. Lots near the church could become the state's first community citrus garden by next spring. Pastor Stephens explains they are waiting for deeds and could have them in the next thirty days.
She and others have been researching citrus gardens. Pastor Stephens says it may be more difficult to grow this type of garden than originally thought but she still wants to try. If it does not work, she says they will grow an orchard of some kind so the neighborhood has access to fresh fruit.
Pastor Stephens says, "We're hoping that the community will take seriously the initiative we have going here and start to participate so that we can build a better community."
If you would like to help with these efforts, monetary donations and kitchen equipment can be sent here:
518 North 19th Street
Terre Haute, 47807
If you would like to donate to Spruce Street Community Church, click here.
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