ABC Equity Report: Looking at food deserts in San Joaquin Valley

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- When it comes to gardening, not everyone has a yard to grow fruits and vegetables.

"I live in a low-income apartment, we don't have any space to grow," says Lue Lee. "This is our only chance to grow."

Lee tends to his veggies at the Al Radka Community Garden in Fresno a few times a week.

He says Hmong families depended on farming for survival in Laos and Thailand.

"It's pretty much you farm or you don't get food," he said. "You starve."

But here, he grows his own vegetables to avoid harmful pesticides, save money and have fresh and healthy food.

"Right now, everything is so high," he said. "Before, it was like $1 a bundle. Maybe now, it's like $3 or $4 a bundle."

App users: For a better experience, click here to view this in a new window

Around the corner from Lee, Steiner Cha and his mother pay the city $35 a year to use the community garden to grow Asian herbs not easily found at grocery stores.

"She'll come and pick vegetables that she needs so that she doesn't have to go to the store to buy them because sometimes, vegetables get expensive," Cha said.

For people who do live near a grocery store, a UC Merced study finds they can't afford it.

"Hunger is a hidden epidemic right here in Central California," says Central California Food Bank Co-CEO Kym Dildine. "One in four adults and one in three kids don't know where the next meal is coming from."

Another complication: the cost of food, in general, is up 4.6 percent from a year ago.

That means this year's Thanksgiving dinner could be the most expensive in the history of the holiday.

Several factors are to blame: supply chain problems, labor shortages, bad weather and inflation.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.