Thank you to Ms. Willis for sitting down to speak about the Fresh Starts Community Garden and its importance to the community. Ms. Willis has been an invested and passionate resident leader for some time now–all of which has been documented on blogs, by news outlets, and in well-deserved awards. Most recently, Ms. Willis was nominated for the North Newstead Association’s July Newsletter resident spotlight. She had plenty of wise and impassioned words to share. When asked about the importance of the garden, she said, “It’s important to me because I’m a resident here. It’s important to this community because it can draw people in economically and organically” rather than folks seeing “boarded up raggedy houses, I want to see something nice in the community.” With the support of others, she has grown the area from a vacant lot to a thriving garden. Ms. Willis says that despite some challenges that the garden and community has faced over the years, “We’re not turning back–we’re going to keep trying to get residents to get involved while we continue to keep our garden open to folks from other communities and neighborhoods.” Ms. Willis is always looking for folks who are interested in getting involved–whether it’s helping to water the garden, help gardeners maintain their raised beds, or become a Fresh Starts gardener and have your own raised bed! If you’re interested, please let Ms. Willis or us know! Thank you for all the work you do and congratulations on being the North Newstead Association’s first newsletter spotlighted resident!