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The ribbon cutting for a new community garden in southeast Urbana took place on a sunny Saturday afternoon, September 8, 2012. Created by the Lierman Neighborhood Action Committee, it is part of the “Let’s Move” campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to create community gardens in cities across the country.
Located at Washington and Lierman, the garden is at the center of a neighborhood which has been in the local mainstream media for its stories of robberies, shootings, and drug dealing. The garden is a sign that some members of the community are beginning to take control of their own destiny.
I spoke with Tommy Askins (in the photo on the right), who spent most of his days this summer out in the garden with a shovel in his hand. He has planted tomatoes, peppers, radishes, and lettuce. Originally from Louisiana, Tommy moved to Urbana after Hurricane Katrina and brought with him his gardening skills. Many youth in the community have come out to help Tommy in the garden. One of them who has put in many hours tilling the soil was chosen to cut the tape for the official dedication of the garden.