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HyVee Community Gardens Expanding

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What started out as a simple project has grown to be so much more.

"Today we are working on the biggest part of the project," said Abdul Sidow, project diretor.

The E. 10th St. HyVee in Sioux Falls donated a plot of land to the Somali-Bantu tribe back in May.

"When I saw this land over here that was empty and all we were doing was mowing it, I said there's something we can do better," said James Siemens, HyVee store director.

That something better turned into a partnership with the Somali-Bantu community, and eventually 12 garden beds. Each bed is maintained by a different refugee or immigrant family.

"One of the things I had in the back of my head was to expand the program, but I just didn't know how in terms of resources," said Abdul.

Now, thanks to a three-year federal grant totaling almost $250 thousand, and donations from Celebrate Church, Abdul's vision is becoming a reality.

"To buy more lumber to build another 100 more beds, so that we can help more families next year," said Abdul.

Less than half an hour of hardwork produced more than a dozen new beds. And by the end of the day, the entire plot of land would be covered.

"We have a good cooperative team, and we are just excited to see how every body's working and interacting with everybody, and how we are pushing the job," said Abdul.

Abdul says the 100 bed expansion will give roughly 30 new families the opportunity to take part in the project, and do something they love.

"These people are farmers, and they have a lot of farming background, and agricultural background," said Abdul.

The gardens provide more than just a pastime. They give the regufees and immigrants a sense of community.

"When I come to grow something, when I come to work this job, I do like it because I meet a lot of people and we help each other," said Yorana Venusto, a member of the project.

Abdul says there is still plenty of work to be done.

"We are visioning that the program will extend. It will extend to any other areas in town."

HyVee announced that they will support a farmer's market for the project next Fall, in order to give the farmers an opportunity to sell their produce.
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