May 18, 2012 10:13 AM
TUCSON- The community spirit is growing in one West Side neighborhood. Starting this weekend, residents of El Rio Acres will be able to purchase a small plot of land, where they can grow their own produce.
Seventy-four-year-old Arturo Leon lives right across the street from the L&K Gin Family Gardens in El Rio Acres. "I've been living in this neighborhood for a long time," Leon says.
For the past two years the Southwest Conservation Corps has borrowed the three acre plot of land from Tucson's Gin-Morgan Family. Community members like Leon help cultivate it and the SCC uses the produce to feed its service members.
"It's all different kinds of produce and they take it out with them to the field," says Jean Hickman of the Southwest Conservation Corps.
But starting Saturday Leon and other El Rio Acres residents will be able to grow their own food at the garden. "Vegetables and that sort of the thing, tomatoes," Leon says.
Each bed will cost $5 per month. There are enough beds for about 20 gardeners. "To have fresh produce right around the corner that you cultivate yourself is an amazing opportunity and I think Tucson is really embracing it," Hickman says.
Gardeners can eat their fresh grown produce themselves, or donate it to the community. They will have to use their own tools, as well as water and weed their own plots.
For Leon, it means a healthier lifestyle and it's a chance to shine a more positive light on his community. "I think it's going to beautify it because when I moved to the neighborhood it was just dirt roads and light poles," Leon says.
The L&K Gin Family Gardens will hold an open house Saturday, May 19 from 6pm to 8pm. It's located at 1401 N. Riverview Blvd.