In December 2017, as an extra stressful year wound down, Courtney Clark, a single mom of high-functioning 13-year-old twins with autism, was blindsided by a diabetes diagnosis. Her response? To dig deep.

She dug deep not only within herself, but also into the soil in pots perched on her New Orleans front porch, yielding homegrown fruit and vegetables. She dug even deeper into the acreage she oversees as program coordinator for the Backyard Gardeners Network, which teaches residents of that city’s historically black Ninth Ward how to plant, harvest and healthily prepare what they sow. And now, by personally practicing her grow-your-own gospel of good eating, Clark says her A1C levels are slowly inching out of high-blood sugar danger zones and back to normal.

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