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Hunger, food insecurity, and inadequate nutrition are a serious issues facing many Pennsylvanians. As the administrator of the Women Infant and Children (WIC) program and Supplemental Nutrition Education Program (SNAP-Ed) for Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Indiana and Lawrence County, Adagio Health sees these inequities firsthand. One of the greatest food-access barriers for many of our clients in these rural counties is transportation. Community gardens are welcomed and met with great enthusiasm in these areas, but unfortunately fall short as they are often inaccessible to those most in need of the fresh fruits and vegetables they provide. It is even a challenge for many volunteers to reach the sites in the outlying areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania. By bringing gardens directly to the people, we are able to solve this critical problem and share community gardening with those who stand to benefit most from these resources. Not only will mobile gardens improve access, they will also decrease food waste and provide unique opportunities to rally communities behind gardening, quality nutrition, and leading healthier lifestyles.
Applying Existing Knowledge to a Wider Population:
Through our SNAP-Ed program, we have found that by introducing students to gardening and nutrition education directly in the classroom, we are able to improve their exposure to fresh fruits and vegetables and therefore increase the amount of fruits and vegetables they ultimately consume. By applying these principles to communities as a whole, we will be amplifying this exposure among a population who might not otherwise have the opportunity to try these products. Familiarity with local, seasonal produce will foster healthier eating habits and encourage program participants to purchase these items when they are at their peak freshness and lowest cost. Not only that, but the program acquaints these populations with where their food comes from, enabling them to start their own home gardening projects. This ties into the Hunger Free PA Goal of developing partnerships to increase access and to “encourage backyard gardeners to grow extra produce to donate to soup kitchens and pantries.”
Adagio Health Nutrition Department plans to operate one mobile garden in each of our five counties of coverage. Working with a contractor, we will build five road-safe, mobile units that will be deployed from our WIC offices. Adagio Health is an established and trusted partner in the communities we serve. We have worked with the families that would benefit most from this project for decades, building ties with not only those we serve directly through our WIC offices and educational programming, but the schools, day care centers, churches, and other organizations that are the foundation of these communities. We also know that our rural neighbors are often left out of the gardening and interactive fresh food programs that their urban peers enjoy. We understand the unique challenges faced by those just outside Allegheny County’s borders and are confident that we can address these situations and help end food scarcity in Southwest Pennsylvania.
Nov 30 2016Organization
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