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Communities throughout southwest Pennsylvania are using
vacant properties and open space to grow food together. They recognize that
having fresh produce in their own neighborhood makes for a stronger and
healthier community. For many, the opportunity to grow nutritious food in community
gardens is an act of resiliency, offsetting some of the barriers often
associated with obtaining healthy food, such as living in a food desert, lack
of space, or the inability to buy local and organic groceries due to household
To that end, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) seeks to ensure that these valuable community vegetable gardens throughout the region are able to remain vibrant and sustain their efforts by providing additional support and opportunities needed to continue to grow food, side by side, sharing knowledge and resources. This includes providing tools, seeds, soil, irrigation systems, sheds, fencing or technical assistance, to name a few. WPC will also add new vegetable gardens in neighborhoods where they do not currently exist to ensure that interested communities have the opportunity to grow local vegetables.
Vegetable garden projects have long been a part of WPC’s greening work. Beginning in the late 1970s, the Conservancy coordinated community initiatives to support neighbors growing food in gardens. These gardens provided an opportunity for residents to supplement their diets with nutritious fruits and vegetables at a time when local food pantries weren’t as prevalent. In addition, using vacant parcels, which have become rather abundant in many neighborhoods, for food production is one way to address blight in a positive, far reaching manner. Since 2010, WPC has worked with Grow Pittsburgh to install vegetable gardens as a means of community greening and empowerment, and environmental improvement. Together, we have provided materials to 60 existing community gardens throughout Allegheny County to help sustain their efforts.
Community gardeners are proving to be great instruments to feed households in need and build a stronger community fabric. WPC, through UpPrize, will ensure this good work will continue to succeed throughout southwestern Pennsylvania.
Nov 29 2016Organization
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