(08/24/12) - It started out as a way to allow apartment tenants to grow their own produce.
Now it's also helping people who don't live on the premises.
In May of 2011, ABC12 told you about the Community Gardens going in at apartment complexes in Grand Blanc and Davison Townships.
Tenants rented plots to grow their own produce.
Now in their second season, the gardens have become a huge success.
"We've increased to 97 beds this year," said Thornridge Marketing Mgr. Gayle Wagner.
At Thornridge, there was such an abundance, apartment managers had to come up with a plan to put the excess produce to good use.
The solution - donate it to Flint's North End Soup Kitchen.
"We contacted the soup kitchen and asked them what they needed and he gave me a wish list," Wagner said.
William Rau, a Thornridge tenant, also works at the soup kitchen.
He says until now, fresh produce wasn't always available to the people served by the soup kitchen.
"You take the cost of fresh produce and it's not very cheap. We really rely on donations and it cuts our costs down quite a bit," Rau said.
"I understand they had stuffed green peppers there yesterday from our garden, so that was pretty rewarding," Wagner said.
Catholic charities is encouraging similar efforts at other Mid-Michigan complexes.
"This is a great example for the community and other places that grow gardens. Grow more and donate the excesses," Wagner said.
ABC12 Main Station