Nova Scotia

Eskasoni man builds gardens so people can have fresh food

Andre Jr Lejeune Desjardins says he will cultivate land for crops, provide the seeds and plant the food — all he needs is the land.

Andre Jr Lejeune Desjardins says all he needs is the land, he'll provide and plant the seeds

Andre Jr Lejeune Desjardins decided to start making gardens for other people his community because of the success of his own garden. (Molly Woodgate/CBC)

An Eskasoni First Nation man wants to make gardens so his community can have fresh food. Andre Jr Lejeune Desjardins said he will cultivate land for crops, provide the seeds and plant the food for free. All he needs is the land.

Desjardins decided to start making gardens for other people this year because of the success of his own.

"I'm growing on gravel. I got no earth to grow on and so ... imagine what I can do with a plot. So I started turning up plots," said Desjardins.

Helping the community

Desjardins made a garden for his father-in-law. On Sunday, he worked on his friend Kenneth Francis's lawn.

"Still have about nine days left for a full harvest in the fall, so I'm trying to get people [to] open up their yards and so far I got three yards. I got to do another one after this today," said Desjardins.

Francis is thankful for Desjardin's help.

"It will mean a lot to me because I got a Type-1 diabetes son that is 11 years old and it's very important that I cook three meals a day for him," said Francis.

'You can't just watch it and do nothing'

Francis says he offered to pay Desjardins for the garden but that Desjardins refused the money.

Desjardins has been helping his community since 2007 through various projects, such as starting a food bank for a soup kitchen. They were unsuccessful, but it hasn't stopped him from trying.

"I never spent a day without a meal in Eskasoni and when I see everybody around me suffer ... you can't just watch it and do nothing. You have to do something about it. That's the way I was raised and so that's what I'm doing," said Desjardins.​

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