EJ Awardee Spotlight: Grow or Die Gardeners

May 10, 2016

When REEP launched our Grow or Die campaign in October of 2011, we envisioned thriving community gardens with healthy, affordable food in place of vacant lots in our neighborhoods. Today, over 100 families grow thousands of pounds of fresh, organic produce across Roxbury and Dorchester. We are thankful for the work of all the gardeners who have grown food over the past four seasons and especially want to recognize Altha Henderson of the Dudley Garden (photo: top right) and Teresa Senices of the Geneva Garden (photo: bottom left), whose leadership and enthusiasm for food justice helped to shape and expand the campaign.

“It feels so good to shop for free. We are growing tomatoes – we love tomatoes – and greens. The stuff that we grow, we eat,” said Altha. “We’re enjoying it.”

Altha and Teresa were with us from the beginning. Both took the initiative to garner support for the gardens, coordinating planting days and upgrades, and ensuring that neighbors made the most out of each raised bed. Altha and Teresa brought in neighbors to form a community committed to environmental justice and, with REEP youth organizers, got our first gardens up and running.

“I like to grow my own vegetables – to grow my own food for my family,” said Teresa. “I’ve met new people at the garden.”

Our community gardens provide more than affordable produce. Each garden is a bulwark against displacement, planting a community stake in land that holds back destabilizing and speculative development. This work would not have been possible without the dedication of neighbors like Altha and Teresa. Thank you for all you do for food justice in our community!