News / Health

Program Provides Food, Farming Education to Urban Poor

Program Provides Food, Farming Education to Urban Poori
X
December 13, 2013 10:14 PM
In many U.S. inner-city neighborhoods, residents live in what is often referred to as a "food desert" - with few options for easy access to healthy foods. As VOA's Ariadne Budianto reports, though, one organization in Washington is trying to help residents of one such neighborhood create their own nutrition oasis.
TEXT SIZE - +
Ariadne Budianto
— In many U.S. inner-city neighborhoods, residents live in what is often referred to as a "food desert" - with few options for easy access to healthy foods. One organization in Washington, however, is trying to help residents of one such neighborhood create their own nutrition oasis.

In Washington's historic LeDroit Park neighborhood, finding fresh food that is affordable can be challenging. About a third of its residents live in poverty, while the nearest grocery store is more than 1.5 kilometers away. But a community farm is trying to resolve it by providing food, as well as education through various programs on food production, healthy eating and environmental sustainability.

"Not only do they know how to grow their own food, we start from seed to harvest to weeding, composting," said Anita Adalja, the farm's manager. "There are workshops on canning food preservation, beekeeping, herbalism, health and nutrition. So not only do they get to educate themselves on that process of food system, but we also distribute up to 15 lbs [6.8 kilograms] of produce [per week, per family]."

Since 2007, Common Good City Farm has taught more than 1,100 residents in its workshops, engaged more than 2,000 school children and recruited more than 2,500 volunteers. Farm manager Adalja said that in 2013, the farm provided more than 2,200 kilograms [5,200 pounds] of fresh fruits and vegetables to the community.

"At Common Good we tried to stick to 85-15, so 85 percent of the food we grow are distributed within the community, then 15 percent we sell to local restaurants and a mobile farmers' market that comes once a week," she said.

Seeds are donated by companies and also harvested from the farm’s greenhouse. Community members, staff and volunteers grow them in a garden built on an abandoned baseball field.

Cassie Hoffman likes the idea of an urban garden that not only is beneficial to the community,  but also to the participants.

"I can spend an hour cutting salad greens and slip into a purely meditative state where I’m not even thinking about anything in particular," she said. "I kind of like it, just because I do a lot of research and number crunching [mathematical], in front of the computer a lot, so I kind of enjoy the peace."

Fifteen-year-old Eliamani Ismail has been volunteering for more than two years. She believes the community around the farm will enjoy a healthier life.

"I think it’s absolutely fantastic," she said. "They really teach people about how their food gets to them and how to properly eat and properly grow things, and that’s what a lot of, especially Americans, need nowadays because we have the obesity problem."

And cultivating healthy habits requires an early start. Youth coordinator Elizabeth Packer takes children to harvest eggplants they grew a few months ago. In the outdoor kitchen, they cook eggplant parmigiana, which instantly becomes a favorite.

Common Good City Farm hopes to serve as a model community-based urban food system while helping LeDroit park residents achieve a healthier lifestyle.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid