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Nonprofit organization plants seeds in community

AAPDEP celebrates Earth Day while taking steps toward eliminating food insecurity. The group wants to provide fresh produce and teach people how to grow their own.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A local organization gets together for their first celebration of Earth Day, this nonprofit group is known as AAPDEP or the All African People's Development and Empowerment Project.

AAPDEP builds community gardens to combat food insecurity and poor health experienced by African people around the world.

"You know, we understand that it's no coincidence that places just like here in Northwood project houses and any project houses for that matter in this country, most of them are food deserts," said AAPDEP International Volunteer Coordinator and Membership Coordinator Kundai Bajikikayi.

So, what are food deserts? Merriam Webster defines the word as: an area where little fresh produce is available for sale.

"We build gardens, garden collectives and community farms as well in order to address you know, food deserts in Black communities or African communities around the world, and as well as to be able to provide a source of healthy nutrients to the community," said Bajikikayi.

The organization is dedicated to teaching self-sufficiency through spreading agricultural knowledge.

"We're not a charity organization, and we like to make that very clear, we're a self-reliant organization," said Bajikikayi.

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Placing a community garden in a food-insecure area will help feed people.

But giving people the knowledge to grow their own food will help feed people for a lifetime.

"African people you know, we been doing agriculture from the beginning of times but because we've been stripped from that knowledge and often times associate agricultural work with slavery because of the conditions you know, that we were forced into here, a lot of our people don't have this skill any more so we wanna bring that back, we wanna teach people how important it is to have skills in agriculture," Bajikikayi.

The group wants people in the Valley to use the garden, located at 2700 Fairbanks Avenue in Huntsville; not only to pick from when ready but to nourish and learn from.

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"They can come out on their own when it's ready to be harvested and picked from and take from the garden, they can come out on their own and nourish the garden, water it but we also have garden works days that we encourage people to come back to," said Bajikikayi.

If you want to get involved and watch this community garden grow, you can join AAPDEP on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 10 am for community garden workdays, weather permitting.

Stay up to date on announcements about these workdays with the AAPDEP Huntsville Facebook Page.

RELATED: Huntsville Botanical Garden's Youth Volunteer Program to provide hands-on experience in 'green jobs'

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