By Kate Tobiasson, Contributing Writer
Hudson – While many take fresh fruits and vegetables for granted, not all families are lucky enough to be able to afford them or to make the trip to the store. These people live in a “food desert” – they are forced to pay higher prices for less nutritious food at small convenience stores. Popular knowledge would suggest that food deserts exist in poor urban areas; few people understand that food deserts prevail even in the suburbs.
Local teen Alex Hache of Hudson saw this problem, and is working hard to bring fresh produce to food deserts in Hudson.
“I volunteered at the Methodist Church’s soup kitchen, Agape Café, during the winter and spring of last year. When summer came around, the church had a small garden space and they asked that I help out there,” Hache explained. “I worked hard to help expand the garden this year. All of the supplies were donated, including the plants themselves. A generous donor brought in an entire palette of tomato plants. I also grew zucchini, peppers, beans and sugar snap peas.”
Hache dedicated his summer to the garden, working in it daily to help nurture the plants and to expand its size. Hache confessed that, at the start of the project, he didn’t know anything about gardening. Committed to the season, he took to the internet and relied on the volunteers to help him grow the project. Local volunteers from the community stepped up to help him, and the garden continued to expand.
As he spent more time in the area, Hache came to better understand the local residents and their daily struggles.
“Many people don’t have access to transportation, as there is no public transportation in Hudson. Their only options for food are convenience stores; they really were living in a food desert. A big portion of their diet was missing,” Hache explained.
Last year, volunteers at the garden put out a small box of vegetables for local families in need. This year, Hache worked to expand the garden and its donations to the local residents. Tables of produce were set out each week, and eager residents were excited about the change.
“As the word got out, people began to take what they needed,” Hache smiled. “I was surprised by how quickly and how many of the vegetables were taken. People were taking them in numbers.”
It quickly became clear that the garden was filling a need that many adults had overlooked.
High school volunteers and adults in the church community continue to support Hache and the garden, and he hopes the project will continue to expand.
“I hope to help the elderly community more in Hudson,” said Hache. “I’m excited that there is a new bus that is visiting some of the residences in town, but we really need to do more. The garden brings the community together; it is something positive to talk about.”
Hache is looking for more volunteers and donations. Next year, he hopes to bring more awareness to the garden and to help more families.
To learn more, visit www.hudsonfumc.org.