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83-year-old sustains garden in backyard on Broadway Avenue in Alexandria

‘Good Food Project’ teaches people how to be self-sufficient and grow their own produce.
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:57 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Food Bank of Central Louisiana’s ‘Good Food Project’ allows anyone to grow their own food, and people of all ages are taking advantage.

One Alexandria woman in her eighties is tending to a garden in her yard on Broadway Avenue, and she’s using it to help others.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at Ms. Rosa Lee Reed. The 83-year-old pecan picker turned gardener is beaming when she steps onto her garden.

Once a month, Reed picks up her food box at the Food Bank of Central Louisiana, but also makes a very important stop at the ‘Good Food Project’ Demonstration Garden.

“She comes up the ramp here at the demonstration garden, says what have you got for me today, and so we supply her with seeds, transplants and information,” said Frances Boudreaux, Director of the ‘Good Food Project.’

Everything Reeds gets, she plants.

“Everything she gives me, I put it in the ground. Everything Ms. Frances gives me, I put it in the ground,” said Reed.

Even if Reed doesn’t quite know what something is.

“She (Ms. Frances) gives me all these seeds, I say is it time to plant this? She’ll tell me when it’s time to plant, like she just told me about one of my own plants over there,” said Reed.

Reed took over the garden in her yard on Broadway Avenue after her husband passed away 25 years ago. Since then, she’s been hard at work.

“I’ll be out here every day, seven days a week,” said Reed.

Reed has been able to turn a hobby into a lifestyle that keeps her in high spirits and young at heart.

“It keeps me very active. I’m out here all the time, you know.”

Reed shares the food grown in her garden with friends, neighbors and her church community.

“It saves me a lot and that’s the truth. It also helps my friends because they can eat it too, you know,” said Reed.

Reed works closely with the ‘Good Food Project,’ learning for herself that you can grow produce just about anywhere with the right tools and information.

“That information is going to help her grow food just about in any small space that she can at her home,” said Boudreaux.

If your school or organization would like to learn more about the ‘Good Food Project’ or have a community garden box, you can call the food bank directly at 318-445-2773.

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