PHOENIX — Thousands of Arizonans live in food deserts, meaning they don’t have good access to healthy and affordable food options. To help a part of that community, two Valley neighbors are working on a solution.
In the middle of the city, in between the pavement on Mulberry Street, a garden grows.
This is where Eric Eisenmann of Arizona Yard Farmers, is inspiring and teaching Arizonans to produce their own food.
"We ripped out the lawn," Eisenmann said. "We started planting fruit trees and gardens. If people want a radish or a beet or some corn, they can just come by and feel free and pick a couple things for dinner that night and it makes for a great community experience.”
Eisenmann is expanding a larger community-wide project too.
“(We're) building elevated garden beds in that community and creating a cooperative farmers market at the Grant Park Community Garden.”
Eisenmann says they’re partnering with local non-profit SODO, concentrating their efforts in the Warehouse District, Central Park Neighborhood and Grant Park Neighborhood. In addition, the Grant Park Community Gardens says they’ve applied for funds to build a LEHR garden demonstration project.
Edmund Williams is the brain behind the LEHR garden.
“The water flows through those tanks, collects up the nutrients the tilapia put in the water and then flows through the soil and flows back," Williams said.
Williams says his LEHR gardens combine technology and organic gardening to create a closed loop, complete ecosystem.
“(It's) pretty low effort," Williams said. "It just plugs right along.”
Producing everything from mushrooms to tomatoes, swiss chard and more. Williams says it's a no pesticide, low water use system, both he and Eisenmann hopes will feed Arizona’s food deserts, urban cities and anyone else looking to produce their own greens.
“Decrease your carbon footprint and just feel good about growing your own food," Eisenmann said.