Stephen Lucke Grows Gardens of Wellness in San Antonio



Stephen Lucke's life forever when he took a college nutrition class. Lucke, an aspiring doctor who was studying biochemistry at University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas (63% Latino) a few years ago, realized that healthy food could help stop people from getting sick in the first place. He was so motivated to help that he immediately helped start a campus wellness program in 2011. He helped start a fruit and vegetable garden on campus a few months later. “I just really became educated about the obesity epidemic,” Lucke said. “You know San Antonio was the most obese city in 2007.” Food Access Needed in San Antonio As he worked to maintain gardens on the UIW campus, Lucke began to realize a severe lack of community gardens and a lack of garden ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

Young Latino Starts Garden to Connect Neighbors, Boost Healthy Food



Caesar Valdillez loves where he lives—the Southtown neighborhood in San Antonio (63% Latino). He grew up in the neighborhood and even moved back after he finished college, hoping to meet like-minded environmentalists to improve the neighborhood and sustain it for many years to come. But he noticed Southtown lacked the healthy food options it needed to be a truly healthy community. “Our neighborhood does not have any reasonable grocery store in the area, especially with fresh produce and herbs,” he said. He decided to help. Southtown Lacks Healthy Options In 2010, on a routine neighborhood walk, Valdillez stumbled upon the South Presa Community Garden. It was largely neglected and overgrown. He was “immediately intrigued,” though, when he saw at least a ...

Read More