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Bakersfield community garden feeds 1,000 people, addresses the need of produce in the area

Posted at 11:52 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 10:52:09-04

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Residents in East Bakersfield are continuing to bring nutritional options to their neighbors by providing and encouraging healthier options with their community garden.

Just off of Clarendon St. nestled inside of a neighborhood is the Urban Community Gardens, home to over a dozen fresh produce that many people in the community rely on.

"It changed my life ever since I been out, it changed my life and my attitude," said Larry Keenan, a volunteer for the community garden.

Keenan lives in the neighborhood and has been tending to the garden for around five years says he owes this past time to, founder Isaiah Crompton.

Crompton is also a community activist of the MLK Community Initiative.

"If you want to come by and be a blessing to the garden, that’s welcomed," said Crompton. "We could use tools, we can use a canopy and a few donations would help, support us. Sometimes just a handshake, a smile and thank you, pushes us."

Every green bush there is filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Some include squash, eggplants, cucumbers, peppers, and more.

The community garden has been active for 17 years and started as an empty lot.
Now, it feeds nearly 1,000 people in the community annually, and the garden is free to anyone in need.

"In Southeast Bakersfield, we live in a food desert and there are not very much healthy alternatives here in this community," Crompton said.

"You have to travel maybe three or four miles to the store to find some reasonable produce, so we thought it would help our community."

Crompton says he hopes to address this problem of the food desert that he says has fallen upon in East Bakersfield by creating additional gardens.

"We are working on another garden on Martin Luther King Blvd. and we’re working through the city to get the ownership of the land so that we can take over that garden," said Crompton.

"So we will have two gardens and we would like to help other people start their gardens so we can have a healthier community."

Keenan adds that the green in the garden is more than just plants for him, they bring him life.
"This is a pleasant place to be at," said Keenan. "I sit out here, sit in a chair, and watch it grown."

If you would like to get involved in the community garden contact Isaiah Crompton.