Community garden in Pharr teaches residents about healthy eating habits

Behind the Food Bank of the Rio Grande and in the middle of the busy streets in the city of Pharr sits a garden filled with fresh vegetables.

Behind the Food Bank of the Rio Grande’s warehouse and among traffic from North Cage Rd. and Expressway 83, sits a vegetable garden in the middle of Pharr.

It’s a community garden for those who don’t have access to nutritious vegetables, and a place for people to learn more about healthy eating habits.

The food bank also teaches people how to cook the vegetables.

“Because if they grow it and don’t know how to cook, it’s probably just going to stay in the refrigerator,” said manager of the food bank, Christopher Bueno.

Bueno says anyone can be part of the community garden.

“[Volunteers] want to learn how to cut their grocery bill in half by growing their own food,” Bueno said.

Major cities across the country have had community gardens sprout up to combat food deserts. It’s a term the USDA has defined as meaning that at least 33 percent of the census tract’s population must reside more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.

Some of people that benefit from the garden actually work as field laborers during the day. But when it comes to what’s eaten at home, Bueno says they just don’t want anything to do with what their day job is.

Bueno is trying to change that mindset. He says that it is very different from growing something for yourself, as opposed to growing something for someone else.

“They’re learning a lot more than what they learn in the fields because you’re just there to harvest, to weed out and stuff,” Bueno said.

No matter the age or walk of life, the community garden has influenced everyone.

“It really made me realize we weren’t eating that many fresh vegetables,” Blair said.

The Farmer’s Market is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.