West End Ministries creating food park in High Point

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Marvin Dunlap doesn't mind getting his hands a little dirty.

With spring nearing, Dunlap plans on spending three to four days a week gardening on the 1.1-acre lot on English Road.

"The warmer it gets, the more you'll see us out here," he said.

Dunlap lives in the city’s west end.

It’s one of seven areas in High Point considered a food desert -- areas where grocery stores and fresh food are at least one mile away and most residents don't have cars.

"They cannot walk to a grocery store and get healthy foods," said Dara Ferris, the community garden coordinator for the nonprofit West End Ministries.

Ferris says lack of food for the city’s poorest residents is what caused the nonprofit to lease the lot which she plans on turning into a food park.

"By summertime, it will be a completely, totally different place," Ferris said.

Not only will the park have a community garden with fresh produce, it'll have a playground, walking trail, and picnic tables for food nutrition classes.

"Everybody in this neighborhood will have the access and the ability and the opportunity to live a happy, healthy, fit lifestyle," she said.

From March 18-19, farmers, nutritionists and other anti-hunger advocates will host Greater High Point Food Alliance’s second annual Food Summit -- a two-day event dedicated to finding ways to end hunger.

This year, 20 city-owned lots will become available to start community gardens.

March 19 will be a city-wide Garden Community Day where community members and volunteers will help work plant fruits and vegetables.

To volunteer, contact Dara Ferris at (336) 687-6441.