Woman brings gardening skills from Africa to feed neighbors in North Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman in North Memphis is encouraging a healthier lifestyle by giving away free vegetables to her neighbors.

Monica Ibie's more than happy to give you a tour of her garden.

"We have red okra, many people don't know red okra is very, very delicious," she said. "This is what I know. I was grown to do this. I was taught at 7 years old."

Ibie is originally from Nigeria, Africa, but has been in North Memphis for two years.

In that time, she's tested the soil and planted what's turned into an oasis for her neighbors.

"She's just one of those people you have to find some very special words for. She's a very special person, she is," Delores West said.

West says she pulled over the first time she saw Ibie in her garden.

"I was just in awe. I really was."

She was quickly welcomed by Ibie.

"She gave me that beautiful tour, a song, a prayer, all that and a bag of vegetables. She's awesome," West said.

Ibie gives away vegetables to her neighbors and teaches them about healthy living.

She also helps anyone else who want to start their own garden.

"People are so excited. The neighborhood is supporting, and we need more support also. We need more support."

Ibie says she wants to expand, "as big as it can be for everyone."

Her goal is to grow enough to donate beyond her neighborhood, specifically to nursing homes and prisons.

She also hopes to clear out an area for a greenhouse and a breeding spot for tilapia and catfish.

This Saturday she's holding a fundraiser for people to get vegetables and donate to her cause.

It will be at 1582 Britton Street from 3 to 5 p.m.

"We grow what we eat. We turn land into food, and that is why I'm here," Ibie said.

Neighbors say you'll quickly become part of something much bigger than plants.

"We need better social interaction. We need to communicate. We need to know each other, and something as simple as a garden can create all that," West said.

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