Food deserts leave the elderly, disabled and those who can't afford cars without convenient access to fresh food and offer only expensive and often unhealthy alternatives.This project will create and sustain a community garden in a food desert in Cincinnati, involving local youth and young professionals. This garden will be part of a year-long effort by the young leaders of Active Citizen City: Cincinnati to build local food efforts through philanthropy, service, and advocacy.
Health problems in cities are amplified by the lack of access to fresh and healthy food, lack of education, and a lack of power for citizens to change things in their own neighborhood. As a result of food deserts in Cincinnati, children are suffering inadequate diets, which in turn negatively affects their ability to learn. In adults, it is a leading driver of increased health care costs. The city government and community based efforts need the increased commitment of volunteer groups.
A group of 12-25 young professionals in Cincinnati, organized as an Active Citizen City (which uses the leadership built through alternative breaks to continue community engagement), will build a community garden in a food desert, while engaging local youth in learning about nutrition. The City Chapter will partner with Streamside and Granny's Garden School to identify an appropriate location, plan, build, and maintain a vibrant community garden. This will serve as a project and a training.
While supermarkets are anchors which bring economic development, they can take years. In the meantime, alternatives must be created to promote a healthy lifestyle, lift community spirit and pride, and create opportunities for community economic development. Community gardens are a source of satisfying labor, neighborhood improvement and interaction, and the productive use of land. They last for a long time, even with informal leadership, bringing benefits of fresh food and social capital.