Bringing the farm to the city

Bringing the farm to the city

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - At a young age, Derek Hasha began gardening with his mom.

"It didn't grow well but I was excited to plant tomatoes and that was our time together," Hasha said. "When she got off work, we would spend time in the garden."

Years later, Hasha has rekindled his love for the outdoors and growing produce.

Hasha wanted to grow food, but didn't want to leave his friends and family in Lake Charles.

"I needed property and I don't have property here in Lake Charles to grow anything," he said.

That's when Hasha and a friend came up with a new way to garden.

Hasha created a business known as "Our Garden." He came up with the idea to use someone's backyard, plant a 100-square-foot garden for himself and then build the homeowner a garden as well.

"The 100-square-feet is for me and the 16-to-32-square-feet is for their personal use," Hasha said. "Sixteen-square-feet will feed about two people a week."

Hasha provides the materials, plants the gardens and helps homeowners maintain their fruits and vegetables.

"I thought it was a great idea," garden partner, Kelsey Travis, said. "Last year, we tried to have our own garden and it failed miserably. I was all for this because we would have extra help for our garden and he would be there to supervise the whole time."

Hasha currently has gardens at three different houses but plans to add at least three more this fall.

He found many homeowners were not only eager to have organic food in their backyard, but were also eager to give their yard a makeover.

"With the Sasol expansion coming to our area, lots of people are going to be moving to our area," John O'Donnell said. "Those people are going to need homes, so as a homeowner, it's always good to increase the value of your home. Five or 10 years ago, you might redo the kitchen and bathroom, but today the trend is to redo your backyard."

O'Donnell and Travis enjoy spending time outside with neighbors and said they enjoy showing their new garden off.

"It brings healthier foods to people, gets people outside and allows people to become more involved with their environment," Hasha said. "It's a community effort, that is why it's called 'Our Garden.' "

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