by Amos Maki
The vacant homes and lots on Jennette Place near Walker Avenue and Mississippi Boulevard in South Memphis began germinating like an urban form of kudzu. They appeared like an invasive species in this proud neighborhood, spreading quickly, choking the life from viable properties and growing into a scourge that at one point seemed impossible to eradicate.
But hope is now growing on a nearly acre-sized urban farm at590 Jennette Place and is spreading as quickly as “the vine that ate the South.”
“We’re growing what was a 3/4-of-an-acre farm and we’re tripling that,” said Marlon Foster, founder of Green Leaf Learning Farm and executive director of Knowledge Quest, a South Memphis nonprofit. “Where people see it as blight or land with no value, we see it as green assets.”