Urban Gardens Help Creat Sustainable Community

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COLUMBIA - The Edible Columbia Harvest tour on Saturday will highlight several urban gardens throughout the city. For some of those who manage the gardens at several of the stops the idea is to create a sustainable community.

According to Adam Saunders of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, urban gardens help build a stronger community.

"It really builds a lot of the resilience and strength of a community to help each other out, not only with vegetables, but with all aspects of life because food is a way to bring people together because everyone eats," Saunders said.

Gardening has become a way of life for some community members like Hoyt DeVane. He harvests about a third of his diet from a backyard garden. Over the past 17 years, he and six other neighbors have come together to maintain 1.6 acres of green space. The group's mission is to be a model of a cooperative, sustainable community.

"One of the things that we think about is how will that affect other people. Will others be moved to do similar things?," DeVane said.

DeVane's backyard garden and Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture's farm will both be stops on the Edible Columbia Harvest Tour.

The tour starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday and will run until 5 p.m. Peaceworks Center for Sustainable Living has sold 40 tickets so far. The deadline to purchase tickets is at 7 p.m. on Friday. Prices to participate run anywhere from $5 to $20, depending on age and income, and can be bought at The Peace Nook in Columbia.