This community-centered project will provide fresh produce, healthy food choices & economic development to underserved communities who are located in "food deserts." This will be accomplished through farmers markets linked to regional farmers & community gardens. In addition this program engages volunteers & youth (ages 14-21) by building leadership capacity, providing character development & cultivating skills so that they can plan & execute innovative solutions, health outreach and education.
In Washington, DC’s underserved communities (in Wards 7 & 8) there are only 3 major grocery store chains which is 1 store for approximately every 47,00 people. This is compared to the 16 stores for every 8,000 people in other affluent parts of town. Additionally, only two of the city's 26 farmers' markets are located east of the Anacostia River where Wards 7 and 8 are situated. This project addresses poverty and the lack of access to healthy food contributes to obesity and poor health outcomes.
Aya will help reduce obesity by providing access healthy food choices & education and improve economic chances to low income residents by:
• Providing sustainable employment and capacity-building for community members;
• Providing comprehensive health education and awareness;
• Leveraging community institutions and individual community-member assets;
• Engaging youth in participation and programming;
• Leveraging volunteers and community-service opportunities to broader community.
This project will provide increased access to fresh fruits & vegetables and improve healthy choices of 100 families. We will recruit 50 volunteer monthly who will be trained to outreach and educate the community, knocking on 28 doors each per month, reaching 1,400 people per month to distribute 4,000 pieces of literature. By providing sustainable employment for low-income residents through social business we can alleviate both health and economic issues through the development of the markets.