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.
Active Citizen City: Cincinnati on Facebook
Society of Active Citizens on Facebook