Written by Trelasa Baratta, Education and Curriculum Intern
With the high cost of housing in the Bay Area and other urban areas, many low-income residents find themselves struggling to afford housing, let alone a stable and nutritious food source. The recent pandemic further exacerbated these pre-existing issues, and its repercussions are putting serious pressures on struggling families. Food insecurity is, and has been, a significant problem for many low-income residents. If we’re being realistic, home gardening is a luxury few can afford. Cultivating our own food takes time, available land/space, financial resources, and knowledge necessary to set up and maintain a sufficiently productive garden. And yet access to fresh, healthy produce is absolutely essential to obtaining optimal health. This is a basic human right, one that everyone is entitled to, not just those with time and resources.
EGC’s Neighborhood Garden Project aims to serve low-income residents with design and installation of gardens (in-ground, raised bed and container, as space is available), both on an individual basis and, ideally, on a neighborhood basis so that larger-scale growing and greater diversity of produce can be immediately available to participating residents. By cultivating food gardens, many residents will have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables they need to provide for their families and improve their health and well-being. Having access to produce with cultural significance is also essential to developing sustainable diets that can fit one’s lifestyle. These gardens and the positive impact they make on community engagement can alleviate some of the obstacles that low-income families face on a daily basis.
On Sunday, April 10th, 2022, our crew teamed up with Family Connections in the North Fair Oaks neighborhood of Redwood City to hand out soil and seedlings for families to bring home. It was truly heartwarming to see the strong connection our partners had with the community. We could feel the deep appreciation neighborhood residents felt as they brought home healthy soil for their gardens/planters with various fruits, vegetables and herbs that will surely contribute to a wealth of nutritious meals in the future.
We also gained much insight into the cultural tastes of the community; residents voted for plants they’d love to have in their gardens, such as cucumbers, avocados and pomegranates.
The next steps for this project will be to strengthen ties with this neighborhood community, so that we might learn more about how we can best help improve nutritional well-being for families in need. We envision for them a bountiful community garden that is easily accessible and regularly tended to, fruit trees that line the streets for everyone to pick from, and safe spaces for people to gather and connect with one another. With a little collaboration, endurance and goodwill this vision can very-well become a reality.
Thank you so much to Nora and Yadira at Family Connections for supporting our work with the local community, and for making the distribution a remarkable and successful one. And to Morgan at Pete’s Coffee in Bay Meadows, San Mateo for the generous coffee donation!!
Interested in being a part of the neighborhood gardens program? Contact email@example.com for more information!