Gardens Help Grow Wellness in Eastside San Antonio



Stephen Lucke learned a shocking fact as a college student in San Antonio, Texas (63% Latino): Life’s most serious health issues can be prevented by improved access to healthy foods. He was so surprised that he immediately helped start fruit and vegetable gardens on his campus at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). But he wanted to do even more to grow access to fresh produce across town. How Gardens Can Boost Food Access Stephen Lucke had aspirations of going to medical school before studying biochemistry at UIW. When he took a nutrition class, he realized he could promote healthy food as the first line of defense against getting sick in the first place. “I just really became educated about the obesity epidemic in the United States,” Lucke said. “You know ...

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New Grant Opportunity for Native Schools from National Farm to School



A new Farm to School project that aims to expand farm to school activities in Native communities is looking to give five $5,900 mini-grants to expand and promote farm to school in native schools. Many generations of native peoples of North America have celebrated a connection to land, food, and community, and use of traditional foods. This new project hopes to expand community-wide initiatives towards building food security around food sovereignty as well as bring traditional foods like blue corn and bison into school menus. To learn more about the grant opportunities, check out the Seed Change in Native Communities with Farm to School and apply here. Applications are due March 22nd, 2017 for schools or early child care and education sites that are looking to expand or jumpstart ...

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New Study: Gardening Contributes to Fighting Climate Change



Do you have a home or small urban garden? Compost pile? According to a new study, you may be helping the environment and reducing climate change. Researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara studied how well-tended gardens for every family home in California may help increase the chance of the state reaching its goal of reducing emissions by 2020. The study reveals that anyone who gardens in their home or backyard could help contribute to reducing two pounds of carbon emissions for every pound of homegrown vegetables consumed. Latino's often miss out on gardening opportunities or fresh food access in their neighborhoods, studies show. Reducing access to growing healthy foods could also increase the high risks that Latino's already face in dealing with ...

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Connecting Latino Families to Local Produce



College friends Tori Ostenso and Emily Pence met through volunteer opportunities while in school and found out that there was a need for immigrant families to have more access to fresh produce in Rice County, Minn. (about 8% Latino population). The two students started a mobile market and eventually began a weekly program to help Latino and other families have greater access to an affordable bag full of fresh local organic vegetables. EMERGENCE Awareness: Victoria (Tori) Ostenso became keenly aware of the bounty of healthy fresh produce grown in Northfield, Minn (8.4% Latino) while working at Carleton College’s two-acre organic vegetable farm in summer 2012 after her freshman year at the school. Ostenso and her friend, Emily Pence, had even started a “gleaning” program at the ...

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Harvesting the Neighborhood for Fresh Fruit



Two architecture and urban planning graduate students from the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) recognized good fruit from fruit trees were being left to rot in urban areas of San Antonio, Texas, (63.2% Latino), where many Latino families live in need of fresh foods. Working together for a class project, the friends created a blossoming non-profit to make sure families in need can access a variety of fresh fruit. EMERGENCE Awareness/Learn: In summer 2013, UTSA grad student Melissa Federspill started a class focused on health planning, called “Health in the Built Environment.” Students in the class were advised to visualize solutions to inner-city health problems. The class analyzed a predominately Latino neighborhood close to campus, the Avenue to Guadalupe neighborhood ...

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Learning Lots and Eating Well at the Guadalupe Community Garden



The Guadalupe neighborhood in Lubbock, Texas has seen some tough times. With many folks struggling to make ends meet, healthy eating has not always been a priority. As a result, obesity has been on the rise in children and adults. It took one determined Latina to get the community back to their roots of growing delicious, fresh foods. Lala Chavez partnered with a local university, her church, and ultimately the city to plant a community garden that would give the neighborhood with a space for learning, activities, and delicious tomatoes. EMERGENCE Awareness: Lala Chavez’s family has lived in the Guadalupe neighborhood for generations. A predominantly Latino community on Lubbock’s northeast side, the neighborhood has a history of poverty. “My grandfather was the first one to ...

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People’s Garden Offers More Than Fresh Produce to Latino Neighborhood



San Antonio is home to a thriving Latino community, making up more than 60% of the population. Unfortunately, many local Latinos have limited healthy food choices in their neighborhoods, especially those who live in low-income areas close to downtown. In these urban spaces, many kids grow up not ever seeing a real carrot and never getting dirty helping grow plants in a garden. In downtown San Antonio’s Southtown neighborhood, a group of green-thumbed neighbors banded together and worked with landowners and city officials to seek a community garden that would bring healthier food options for their community. Their story shows that although the road may be filled with bumps, bringing a garden into your community can offer more than just fresh fruits and veggies—it can instill community ...

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