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2 UCLA Grads Work With Watts High Schoolers To Bring Fresh Produce To The Community

WATTS ( — Sanna Alas and Claudia Varney stared out on an empty lot in Watts and imagined the possibilities.

For now, the space is filled with dead grass and trash, but these UCLA graduates saw their dream garden.

They are working with Jordan High School to turn the spot into a community garden that would provide healthy food to the community and educate students.

"What are the problems that are faced by urban communities here in Los Angeles? And one of them we were talking about was health disparities," Alas said.

While enrolled at UCLA, Alas was involved in an outreach program to help those in underdeveloped areas. She saw a need to bring nutritious food to Watts.

"We really wanted to take those discussions and turn them into action, and so the students actually proposed to create a community garden right across from the school," according to Alas.

She points to food as one of the main reasons why there exists, at times, health disparities between different socioeconomic demographics: "When you don't have easy access to fresh food, organic food, or just really healthy food like fruits and vegetables, or if it's not rooted in your culture, that's where you get different things like high rates of obesity, high rates of heart disease, high rates of disparities in different communities of color."

The team hopes to have the garden finished by the end of the year.

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