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"We try to give back" - Panacea neighbors work to meet a growing need for fresh produce

Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 17:29:29-04
  • A group in the Panacea neighborhood is working to grow fresh produce for the community.
  • A Food Access Atlas from the USDA shows the area between Panacea and Crawfordville has a hard time getting to stores with fresh, healthy options.
  • Watch the video above to hear from those behind the garden and see what they have planned next.


Produce grown by the community for the community. I'm Kenzie Krueger, your neighborhood reporter for Panacea. I'm finding out how the Panacea Waterfronts Community Garden is growing more than just food for neighbors.

It's also producing positivity.

“People are welcome to come and pick vegetables, fruits and whatever they want to.” It's a project Justine Bai loves. "We try to give back as much produce to the community."

Maintaining the plants growing here at the Panacea Waterfronts Community Garden.

“It’s a group of likeminded people who love to garden either for an hour a week or ten hours a week." It’s an accessible, affordable option for fresh produce in the neighborhood.

“Anything fresh around here is great because even if you go up to Crawfordville it can be tough to get fresh produce.”

She's right.

This Food Access Atlas from the USDA. shows the area between Panacea and Crawfordville has a hard time getting to stores with fresh, healthy options.

Screenshot 2024-04-16 at 1.41.18 PM.png
Green area shows low-income census tracts where a significant number or share of residents is more than 1 mile (urban) or 10 miles (rural) from the nearest supermarket.

It's the area highlighted in green on your screen. The good news is: neighbors can find tomatoes, strawberries and herbs growing right here.

"I mean to just take your romaine and your arugula and your tomatoes and put together a salad from the garden. Much much healthier much more nutritious." Margie Clark also helps with the garden. She knows how limited the options are in the neighborhood.

“The Dollar General is our only little grocery store so to have something else available I think it’s a real benefit to the community.”

They’re also creating a food forest which will be a trail with fresh fruit tress for people to pick.

This is in honor of was Audrey Alessi who passed away last year. The volunteers here say she had the vision of creating the food forest next to the garden.

Now they’re working on bringing it to life.

“My hope would be in 10 or 20 years people are walking on that trail, picking ad much fruit as they would like to pick.”

Giving neighbors in Panacea more options while bringing the community together.

“I’d like to see more volunteers get involved so that we can do more and produce more food.”

On Saturday May 4 at 9 a.m. they’ll be having a dedication ceremony for Audrey Alessi here at the garden.