Sowing seeds for change: West Boulevard Coalition community garden flourishes

With rising violence in Charlotte, CMPD has been very clear about how much they need people in the community to help them curb crime. One area stepping is the West Boulevard corridor by sowing the seeds for change.

At the Urban Farm off Romare Bearden at West Boulevard, all the fruits and vegetables grown at this quarter acre plot of land go back into the community.  

"You know it’s a food desert, so our main thing is bringing healthy foods along the corridor,” says Brenda Campbell from the West Boulevard Coalition.

Campbell and Ricky Hall says part of the revitalization plan for the corridor is to open a farmer’s market and neighborhood co-op grocery store.  

“We want to provide good paying jobs,” says Hall.

Many volunteers who work in the garden come from local schools, or companies. Hall mentors many kids in the neighborhood, many who work in the garden as volunteers, some who earn a stipend.  

“Its about life long lessons so they can transfer and become productive citizens that’s what it’s all about,” says Hall.

Dez Cain is someone is one of the volunteers. He admittedly has straddled the law, but says he has benefitted by working in the garden.

"I understand the ethics and the patience that you get from doing this type of stuff. It's hot right now got on jeans in the sun and I’m working...but to me I understand the effects that its going to have on the overall thing,” says Cain.

CMPD recently honored the West Boulevard Coalition with the Community Partner Award.

“Without active community members and active community participants.. we would not have the success that we do in terms of crime fighting," Lt. Brad Koch says.

Community resource officers also attend the coalition's meetings.  

“Our most important asset that we have on a regular basis is  the relationships between the community members," Koch says.

“CMPD works in the community, but we live in the community, and the way in which you impact change if you have problems its your problem to solve. It's our problems to solve and we work in partnership with CMPD,” says Hall.

The West Boulevard Coalition is getting results for thier neighborhood.