by Kammy Pany

This week we spoke with Tara Mahmood, a nutrition master’s student at ASU. She partnered up with a local Muslim woman Nadia Katrangi who founded the project, Grow My Own. Nadia is a MD in training and specialized in pathology, her passion lies in implementing a whole food approach to healthy living. To combat food insecurity and the high costs of produce, she came up with the idea of having Syrian refugees to grow some of their staple foods in their own apartments. The Arizona Sustainability Alliance is looking into assisting these families with vertical gardens. A great solution to allow these families to grow foods they are accustomed to: eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley and cilantro.
The vertical garden project with the sustainability students at ASU is in the process of applying for a grant. They are looking to install 5 vertical gardens for the students to maintain, grow, and learn from. We are excited for this wonderful opportunity.
We also connected with Cindy Gentry from Local First. She was able to send us documents that could assist us with allowing students at ASU to consume the foods they grow in the gardens. Last year she was able to assist schools on passing a law so the children could consume produce from the school garden.
Lastly we spoke with Clare Okyere, a principal at an elementry school in Phoenix where she has wonderful plans on implementing gardens for the first grade and for garden club. She already has many trees with fruit planted and was looking to do more for the students. We discussed the vertical gardens and she was excited to learn about them.