East Waco has long been considered a “food desert”, meaning that there are no locally available grocery resources. When plans for a nonprofit grocery store on Elm Avenue were canceled, several community members mobilized.

Each year, NeighborWorks Waco identifies and empowers community leaders. Selected individuals are afforded leadership development training and funding from NeighborWorks. The leaders dream and plan a vision for their community. With the backing of NeighborWorks Waco, projects like these come to fruition.

This year’s Community Leadership Initiative decided to start a community garden in East Waco. Realizing that food resources are scarce in the area—particularly healthy options—the CLI Group has worked to establish a robust plan to serve their community.

The National Women in Agriculture Association (NWAA) in partnership with the CLI group has begun a farmer’s market in East Waco, as well. Now, the community can practice cultivating healthy fruits and veggies in the community garden, and there is an option to regularly purchase in-season foods. On Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 AM to 1, farmer’s will be present on Elm Avenue with healthy food options.

The CLI group recently hosted a workshop on preserving and canning, aimed at providing tangible and useful skills to community members. The workshop was hosted at NeighborWorks Waco’s office and had many delighted participants.

We are proud of the community leaders who have identified this project and worked diligently on this opportunity to serve their community. We are looking forward to following the growth of the community garden, located in East Waco.

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