Developing community eco-nourishment practices in food deserts!

Imagine waking up on a Saturday morning and you are hungry. There is nothing in the refrigerator and you don’t have reliable transportation. Your two children are asleep and you don’t have enough food to provide them with a nourishing breakfast. The closest grocery store is over a mile away! However, the gas station is only 100 yards away. What would you do? As dire as this may sound, this is the reality for many in urban areas in America.

With limited choices, many find themselves having to decide whether they would walk the extra distance for the healthier items or if they would opt for the expediency of the gas station, filled with processed foods with high sodium and sugar contents. Realistically, many will select the closer option. The lack of food, especially fresh produce, is a contributing factor to both childhood and adult illnesses and diseases. Yet, there are ways that we call help to ensure that no parent has to make the decision between convenience and health.

According to the USDA, a food desert can be described as a geographic area where residents’ access to affordable, healthy food options (especially fresh fruits and vegetables) is restricted or nonexistent due to the absence of grocery stores within convenient travelling distance. According to a report prepared for the US Congress by the US Department of Agriculture, about 2.3 million people, who do not own cars, live more than one mile away from a supermarket.

In urban areas, access to public transportation may help residents overcome the difficulties posed by distance, but economic forces have driven grocery stores away, making them so sparse that an individual’s food shopping trip may require several forms of transportation or bus transfers.

Holistic health begins with what we consume. Through the #GID initiative, we aim to strengthen the communities we serve by educating youth on how to live off of the land. Specifically targeting communities that do not have access to healthy and affordable food, our gardens are developed within a .5 mile radius of an educational institution which gives easy access to students.

We want to partner with individuals, communities, townships and counties who have identified parcels of land that are prime for revitalization. This initiative is kicked off with a celebratory clean-up day filled with live music, catered food and guest speakers who inspire and educate the community about the importance of living off of the land.  #TgC will develop a garden construction and maintenance plan that is unique and suitable for that particular environment and community. Once the plan is developed, planting and tending will be sustained by our team of #TgC volunteers and community of residents.

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