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South Shore Woman Creates Urban Garden To Grow Food In Food Desert

CHICAGO (CBS)-- A woman on the South Side is using her urban garden to decrease scarcity and fear in the middle of a food desert.

Nyajai Ellison is planting and harvesting behind her three-flat in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood.

Ellison has no shortage of food in her garden, or enthusiasm. She grows everything from kale to corn and carrots, to berries, peppers and all types of tomatoes.

Food scarcity is prevalent on the South Side and Ellison knows this personally.

"I just know what that feels like, to not know where your next meal is coming from," She said. "When you kind of grow up where you experience the lack of, it gives you this drive and this motivation to make sure that's no longer the case."

Ellison started her garden in the middle of the pandemic. She said it became her therapy and happy place.

Now, she shares her garden with her family and neighbors.

"We know how prevalent diabetes, high blood pressure, all these illnesses and diseases that's highly prevalent in the Black community, and all of this stems from food and our diets," Ellison said.

So, she gives away fruit and vegetables, and shares gardening tips online, and even healthy meal ideas.

Also on the South Side is the Urban Growers Collective. The non-profit runs eight urban farms on 11 acres of land in the city.

There's a growing list of community gardens in the city where you can plant and harvest. Visit the Chicago Park District website to find your local garden.

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