Agriculture, Central New York, Environment, Food, Health, Syracuse

Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden Brings Fresh Produce to Food Desert

Rahma Garden finds a way to help residents get fresh foods.


By Lileana Pearson SYRACUSE, N.Y. (Ncc News) – Food deserts are an area, typically urban, that has minimal access to fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables.

Syracuse has several areas that are labeled as food deserts. The two worst residing in zip code areas, 13202 and 13204.  Residents that live in these areas usually get their food from gas stations, and convenience stores. On top of that, diets of mostly processed foods result in expenses to treat poor health, making it hard to afford healthier foods.

The Rahma Edible Forest Snack Garden is located in Syracuse’s South Side (zip code 13205), right inside a food desert. There are a few things that make this garden pretty unique.

(c) Syracuse Food Environment Report 2017

First, it’s completely open to the public. Where most community gardens are fenced off, this one was built seven years ago in an open lot, so anyone can visit and partake.

Frank Cetera is the garden manager, and says the garden is also built to be self-sustainable. Raised beds need to be weeded, watered and protected from animals. The Rahma garden is designed to grow in a way that looks like more like a small forest. Small plants, like kale, grow in the open, and blackberries grow under the branches of apple trees.

The garden was built around a foot trail that residents used to get to a convenience store. The hope now, is that when residents walk through the garden, they will choose to pick fruit over getting a bag of potato chips.

You can learn more about the Rahma garden on its Facebook page.