Young Urban Gardener losing home and community garden

Austin Hurt's family is moving, forcing him to leave his community garden behind.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - An Indianapolis boy who worked hard to feed hungry people in his community is saying goodbye to his community garden.

"This is where I had the peppers, blueberries, raspberries, pepper and onions," said 12-year-old Austin Hurt as he gestures to a frozen, muddy and partially snow-covered ground just down the street from his Jefferson Avenue home.

Austin is looking at what's become of the fruits of his labor. They've all but disappeared in the community garden he started more than a year ago.

"Look at what I've done, something so good and then gone," said Austin, looking over what's left of the garden.

The reasons the garden is all but gone are so much bigger than just a gray and cold winter setting in for the next several months.

"My heart is broken because I did all of this, spent my time into this and now we have to move," Austin said.

The circumstances that have brought Austin to this point are beyond a 12-year old's control.

Austin and his family must move from their home on the city's near east side, leaving behind a house they've lived in for five years and the garden Austin started to feed people who were hungry.

It's an experience Austin and his brother and sisters know all too well themselves.

"All we had were rice and those bags of beans. It was like a very small bag of beans," a then 11-year-old Austin told Eyewitness News in the spring of 2017 when Eyewitness News first brought you the story of young man who called himself "The Young Urban Gardener," teaching people how to grow things on his YouTube channel, while also growing food to feed his family and others who were hungry.

"I see a lot of people without food so I wanted to start that," Austin said at the time.

His story soon gained attention across the city and received an Emmy Award. It was a night Austin shared on stage with the Eyewitness News team.

"I liked that day. I'll remember that day forever," said Austin wistfully, staring off across the cold ground. "It was one of the best days of my life, one of the best."

Now Austin is facing one of the worst and it's not just because he's moving away from his garden, which will likely see a home built in the same spot.

"No garden is going to be here," Austin said, looking at the new construction already popping up around the garden's remnants.

Austin's family has found a new home farther east, but just got word the house may not be ready in time for their move. That means come Friday, Austin, the Young Urban Gardener, and his family could temporarily be homeless.

Just like hunger, the middle school student is no stranger to that experience either.

"When I was little, we actually had to move out of the house and we were actually homeless," said Austin quietly. "Life is unfair."

This is life for a kid living in poverty, through no fault of his own. Learning a lesson he's far too young to know just yet, but already does.

"I hope for the best and prepare for the worst," said Austin.

Part of that hope is holding on to the idea he'll be able to find a new plot of land in
his new neighborhood where Austin can start another community garden.

"I love doing it, so I'm going to stay doing it," said Austin.

He knows there are still people out there who need his help.

"I don't know who they are, but I know...I know they're still out there, so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to try and help," said Austin.