North Memphis man brings beehives, chickens and a garden to help neighborhood

North Memphis man creates community garden, brings sweet success

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In North Memphis, there’s a huge garden where vegetables, fruit trees, herbs and even sunflowers grow.

Marius Blake created this garden last year where he also raises over a dozen chickens and even honeybees!

Blake is a self-taught beekeeper and harvests fresh honey. A couple of years ago Blake decided it was time to move back to his old neighborhood. He bought and renovated his late grandmother’s home. It’s the same home he grew up in.

She taught him his love for gardening,.

“She always had me going to the garden in the back and every summer she had us going down to Mississippi to learn from my great grandma,” said Blake.

Just a couple of homes down the street from his new home, he built his garden oasis.

It certainly stands out in a mix of boarded up homes and blight, but Blake says this is exactly where he needs to be.

”Just go on and lead by example, and just put it there and see what happens,” said Blake.

That’s the funny thing about plants. They have a tendency to spread and Blake’s garden started to spread throughout the neighborhood.

“It’s been helpful because my momma come down here and get a lot of vegetables and stuff when she need it for cooking sometime,” said Atarius Wright who lives in the neighborhood.

Blake started giving away most of the food in his garden and mentoring the youth in the neighborhood.

Wright says he’s learned a lot about gardening from Blake.

”I love what he doing to the community,” said Cynthia Brittman who lives next door to Blake’s garden.

Brittman says Blake not only gives her free produce such as squash and okra, but he also turned this empty lot into something neighbors can be proud of.

Blake bought the land for the garden for just $50. He calls it a priceless investment into his community.

He has also purchased two other homes in his old neighborhood that he plans to renovate.

"This is the best idea. This how you start sustainable wealth and you give back to your generation,” said Blake.

Blake says he got help for his garden through a program with “Memphis City Beautiful”.

If you have a great idea on how to improve your community through something like a community garden or a beautification effort, you can try city resources such as Memphis City Beautiful, Memphis Tilth and the U.T. Agricultural Extension Office.

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