PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Figgy’s Patch is the first independent Farmer’s Market to originate from an urban farm incubator based in Peoria’s Southside, an area that lacks a supermarket.
Budding mattah is a local organization that aims to provide healthy food sources through community gardens to address food insecurity, hands-on gardening education and ultimately business opportunities for area residents.
The Budded Mattah Urban Agriculture project is working with the South Side Mission, local nurseries and local churches to “use urban gardening as a means of empowerment and to eliminate the food desert,” according to its website.
The Southside of Peoria does not have a grocery store and is considered a food desert, leaving residents without a lot of healthy options. However, some believe that the new community gardens are the first step towards creating a food security zone.
âI love that we can bring something new to a community that doesn’t have it. I love the fact that we allow people to learn how to grow if they don’t know it, that we teach them, âsaid Amy Figueroa, owner of Figgy’s Patch and responsible for the Budded Mattah community.
Figueroa takes care of four plots in the community garden located outside the South Side Benevolence Center, near the Harrison Homes in Peoria. She grew so many products that she was able to open her own vegetable stand.
âThis is what you can do if a small group of people take the initiative to create a community. Whether it’s planting a garden, selling lemonade, you knowâ¦ it’s wonderful. It’s awesome, âshe said.
Figueroa specializes in heirloom tomatoes, but offers a wide variety of vegetables, as well as watermelon and herbs. She also sells aprons and other non-perishable items.
When supply permits, Figueroa sets up his market outside his home at 821 NE Madison Street in Peoria. Other members of the group sell their vegetables at the Keller Station Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays.
Figueroa said they are looking to expand the Budded Mattah program by securing vacant lots. They are also Fund raising to build a fence around Harrison Garden, which was vandalized in June.