“Food insecurity can have wide-ranging detrimental consequences on the physical and mental health of adults (and) more vulnerable populations…Lack of access to a nutritious and adequate food supply has implications not only for the development of physical and mental disease, but also behaviors and social skills.” — Feeding America, U.S. hunger-relief charity
Food gardens are healing gardens
Guest post by Filiz Satir
Families with limited incomes often lack the means to put fresh, nutritious food on the table. In the “land of plenty” a stunning 1 in 6 adults, and 1 in 5 children suffer from poor nutrition and struggle with hunger.
In addition to food assistance programs, food banks and other hunger relief groups, American cities are witnessing a growth in urban agriculture and associated non-profits working to fight food insecurity. Programs that support urban and suburban food production are providing low-income families with the skills and tools to grow fresh, local and healthy food. One such group is Seattle’s Just Garden Project that builds home gardens for eligible families living 200 percent below the poverty line in King County, Washington.
“We are spreading the use of household gardens to help end hunger, improve day-to-day food security and decrease food-related health issues in lower income families,” says Stephanie Seliga, manager of Just Garden Project (JGP). Now in its third year, JGP builds 30 kitchen gardens a year for eligible low-income families and vulnerable groups. The recipients’ participation in the garden “build outs,” shifts their personal experience with food from one of being a consumer only to being a producer.