Communities without grocery stores can experience food insecurity. The Cities of Service Let's Grow Blueprint outlines how to improve healthy food access with community gardens.
People tend to eat food that is convenient and affordable. But in many communities, fresh and healthy food is neither convenient nor affordable. Many residents in these often low-income areas too frequently eat a diet that is devoid of or low in fresh fruit and vegetables, which can lead to a variety of health-related problems.
The mayor’s office, with the help of city agencies and community partners, determines where in the city to focus the community garden initiative. Target areas should include low-income neighborhoods where grocery stores and fresh produce markets are scarce. The mayor’s office tracks and reports impact metrics for every garden, often collected from local partners each quarter.
Executing The Plan
The mayor’s office identifies the neighborhoods where community gardens can have the most impact (e.g., areas where grocery stores and fresh produce markets are not available). Ideally, the local partner will engage parents as well their children to support the community garden. The mayor’s office ensures that the garden initiative continues to meet its mission of improving access to healthy food by requiring local partners to track specific impact metrics.
Required metrics for Let’s Grow include the number of new garden plots created, number of garden plots maintained, pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested and distributed, or servings of food, if possible to calculate, number of families benefiting from the harvest, and increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables amongst those benefitting from the harvest as measured by pre- and post-surveys.