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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid