Dinah Abrams’ love for gardening goes back to her Arkansas roots. As a child, Dinah would spend hours in the garden with her mother, planting, nurturing, and harvesting vegetables to feed their family of seven.
“We lived in a small farming community,” she remembers. “They didn’t have any stores – any post office. My mother had to travel 20 miles once a month to go to the grocery store. We canned 500 to 600 quarts of vegetables every year – it was a big job.”
Dinah came to Central Texas to help her daughter care for her new baby. However, Dinah fell on hard times, and found herself without a job, a car, or a home. She stayed at a transitional living facility in Austin for three months while she looked for work.
Her life started to come together again when she got a call from HACA informing her that an apartment was available at Lakeside Apartments.
“It’s hard to live in a group home with people where you just have a room – that’s all you have,” she said. “It was very nice to move in here, and I love being on the lake and the hike and bike trail.”
Since living at Lakeside, Dinah says she’s started attending church again. She’s also started a community garden at Lakeside, thanks to a tip from a friend in her congregation.
“She told me about the Green Corn Project,” Dinah said. “I contacted them, and they gave me a free garden!”
The Green Corn Project is a local nonprofit organization that helps educate and assist Central Texans in building organic food gardens so that they can have access to nutritious, affordable food.
“We believe that everyone should grow some of what they eat and have access to delicious, organic vegetables,” said Project Manager David Huebel. “Our outreach extends to folks with limited access to good food and limited ability to build a garden. The reason for limited access could be economic, age or health. As long as they're able to maintain it, we'll help them get started and provide advice to help them be successful.”
Since the raised Lakeside garden was planted by the Green Corn Project’s Dig-In Leaders in November, Dinah and two other Lakeside residents have established beds full of cucumbers, green beans, herbs, peppers, eggplant, Swiss chard. Marigolds scattered throughout the garden add a pop of color.
“I can’t believe we can garden all year round here,” Dinah said. “It’s given me healthy food to eat and I don’t have to buy as many groceries. This has helped me financially, plus it’s enriched my life. I’m happier gardening.”
For more information about the Green Corn Project, or to apply for your own free garden, visit www.greencornproject.org or call (512) 632-4541.
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