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The Root of Change

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Root Vegetables” by Clay Irving (This photograph is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License)*

Everyday people face limited food access and options. Many low-income communities may only have fast food and convenience stores, where choices are mainly fatty, sugary, and processed foods.

“11% of the poorest Americans without cars live in ‘food deserts’ where one-third or more of the residents are beyond walking distance to the nearest grocery store (USDA, 2009)."

Question: How can citizens contribute to make healthy food more accessible in high need communities? 

Answer: Citizens can start a root of change by planting community gardens.

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Community Garden” by Jeff Schuler (This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license)*

Not only do gardens provide communities with access to fresh, healthy produce; they also create a sense of health and well-being in individuals.

  • -Community gardens can supply fruits and vegetables for neighborhoods lacking full-service grocery stores and/or transportation to grocery stores.
  • -Community gardens bring people together, increasing cultural awareness.
  • -Community gardens reduce stress and create a sense of well-being and belonging.
  • -Community gardens change eating habits.
  • -Community gardens contribute to an overall improvement in diet-related problems.

Be the root of change by becoming involved with planning, planting, and caring for a community garden and transform the way of life in your community.

*No modifications were made to this photo 

Emily Lindsey is a dietetic intern with the Georgia Department of Public Health and works as a WIC nutritionist in north Georgia.

References:

Sarah Treuhaft and Allison Karpyn, The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters (Oakland, CA: PolicyLink, 2010).  

USDA Economic Research Service. “Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food – Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress.” June 2009.

Jill Florence Lackey & Associates. (1998). Evaluation of Community Gardens: A Program of the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

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