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.
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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid