September 13th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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For more than a decade, Robin Emmons felt helpless as her older brother lived on the streets, eating out of garbage cans.

She tried repeatedly to get him help for his mental illness, but authorities told her there was nothing they could do.

After he was arrested in 2008 for damaging someone's car during a schizophrenic outburst, she was finally able to become his legal guardian and get him into a halfway house with psychiatric services.

But as she watched his mental health improve, she noticed his physical health getting worse.

"I learned that he was becoming borderline diabetic," she said. "He wasn't like that even when he was homeless."

She investigated and found out that the nonprofit facility was mainly feeding him packaged and canned foods because it couldn't afford fresh fruits and vegetables.

"I had a small garden, so I thought, 'Well, I'll just put in some extra rows,' " Emmons said. "I began making weekly deliveries of whatever was coming up."

She soon realized, however, that the problem extended well beyond her brother's transitional home. While farmers markets were springing up across the city, she noticed that low-income and working-class neighborhoods had few grocery stores or places to buy fresh produce.

Read - Creating an oasis in a Southern 'food desert'

More on food deserts:

"Making groceries" in a New Orleans food desert
The food desert in your own backyard
Class warfare in the grocery aisle
The Capital’s food deserts
Michelle Obama seeks to stamp out food deserts with the help of some grocery giants

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Filed under: Food Deserts • Gardening • Human Rights • Hunger • Urban Gardening

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. cilverleaf

    I love that!! I think we should have more community gardens, the organic isles are always very slim to none, what a beautiful woman..

    September 24, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  2. JellyBean

    She is simply incredible.

    September 19, 2013 at 7:38 am |
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