Sugar Bear’s Gardens owner LaRahna Johnson said her new business allows people to take more responsibility for what they’re eating.


Taking more responsibility is more than just a quick trip to the grocery store, she said, it’s also about sustainability.


Johnson opened Sugar Bear’s Gardens on Richland Avenue E. about two weeks ago to continue her reflection on, and to share with others, her values of sustainability.


“You gotta have values that produce sustainability, and you can’t talk about sustainability without talking about food,” Johnson said. “You can take an active role in that. Farmers have. They’ve said, ‘I’ll never go hungry again because I can produce.’”


Sugar Bear’s Gardens offers fresh fruits and vegetables grown at Johnson’s farm in Deepstep, Georgia, and at farms in the Aiken County area.


On Friday, the shelves were stocked with okra, bell peppers, tomatoes, yellow squash, corn, watermelons, cantaloupes, peaches and cucumbers.


Land was even tilled next to the business Thursday so that Johnson can grow fresh produce on site.


Customers are welcome to walk in and purchase what they want, and they can also subscribe to Sugar Bear Gardens’ weekly produce baskets. For a weekly fee, Sugar Bear’s Gardens will fill a basket with fruits and vegetables tailored to the subscriber’s tastes.


A planter’s basket feeds one person for $10 a week; a waterer’s basket feeds one to two people for $25 a week; a caretaker’s basket feeds three to four people for $40 a week; and a harvester’s basket feeds three to five people for $50 a week.


Orders can be placed online, and baskets are available for pick up on Thursdays.


“We’re merging economics with convenience. Our produce is accessible, convenient and affordable,” Johnson said. “Subscribing is a very easy process.”


In the future, Johnson hopes to offer fresh bread and a lunch menu.


Johnson has no desire to compete with the Aiken County Farmers Market, which is just a few blocks away.


“Hopefully, Sugar Bear’s Gardens is a complement to the Farmers Market. We want local farmers to be in business,” she said.


Sugar Bear Gardens is located at 1450 Richland Ave. E. It can be reached at 803-624-7981 and online at www.sugarbearsgardens.com.