One man’s diagnosis led to dozens of Memphians getting free, healthy food in parts of the city that lack grocery stores and restaurants.

Austin Avery launching Healthy Frayser and The Original Project came when Austin was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. After that happened, as he says it, “my wife went crazy.”

Reesie Avery began a search to clean up and convert the couple’s diet to one that is plant-based. But the couple’s dietary changes became something more — a mission to change neighborhoods.

The Original Project is an organization that builds sustainability hubs. In Memphis, they’ve built hydroponic greenhouses, composting and participate in food rescue — getting leftover unused food from restaurants and distributing it to those in need. Thus far, they have two sustainability hubs in Frayser. 

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In November, the organization expanded and launched a weekly meal program in a Frayser mobile home park — Redwood Estates — giving away free, healthy meals to residents and anyone who wants one on Friday afternoons and evenings.

“We’re giving you the opportunity to come out here and have a healthy option to take home to your family regardless of financial issues,” Reesie Avery said.

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