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By Kathy Barr



Early in the morning, 82-year old Bill Lewis leaves his apartment in Gateway, the high rise building where he resides and fulfills a lifelong dream. As a truck driver, Bill just didn’t have time to raise his own food, but he always dreamed that someday he’d have the opportunity to grow some of the food that he’d eat. Fifty years of eating in cafes every day created in Bill a desire to eat fresh food right out of the garden. Three years ago he was finally given that opportunity. At the Bill Johnson Community Garden, located behind Gateway, okra, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans and blueberries can be found in the patch that Bill faithfully plants, waters and harvests. Carefully removing the vegetables and fruits when they are ready to be consumed, it is obvious that Bill thoroughly enjoys the process. {{more}} In addition, he enjoys the social advantages of gardening. “I’ve met many people through gardening,” he said. What makes the garden at Gateway unique is that Gateway is one of several public housing high rises in Chattanooga, Tennessee. With the assistance of the Chattanooga Food Bank, which provides the seeds, several people have staked a claim on a plot of land next to the high rise, located near Martin Luther King Boulevard. In addition to garden plots, there is also a greenhouse where plants are grown. Besides the advantages of having fresh food, Bill is also mindful of a lesson he learned when he was young. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” he said. Obviously, Bill does not want to give the devil any opportunities! Photo Courtesy of Kathy Barr

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