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Paducah, KY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Organizers with the Paducah McCracken County Senior Center wanted a community garden for low-income residents. The center addressed this need by building a garden with ADA-compliant pathways, ramps and garden beds. The new space provides older adults in the community with fresh produce, opportunities for socializing with friends and neighbors and non-strenuous physical activity.

Tavernier, FL

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The JOY (Just Older Youth) Center's staff saw a need to build connections and prevent loneliness. To do this, the Center added a new community garden. Engaging the expertise of a local gardener, Center staff built elevated garden beds, designed to be easier on aging knees than ground-level plots. They also purchased seedlings for the space. Today, the garden isn't just producing broccoli and collard greens. Project organizers say the garden is also a nurturing place for older adults to get together, socialize and learn new skills. And over the growing season, nearly 100 community members worked in the gardens.

Anderson, SC

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: To expose locals to art and grow food for people in need, Anderson Arts Center beautified its campus by creating a new mural and community garden. The first mural in Anderson, it depicts a rabbit alongside a colorful fruit and vegetables. Since its completion, it has inspired other local organizations to create their own murals around town. Project organizers say within the garden's first year, the Center taught nearly 500 children about growing fresh vegetables. The Arts Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, hosts gallery exhibitions featuring regional, national and international artists, orchestrates downtown public arts projects and is home to a summer arts camp and arts school for children and adults.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Anadarko, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Delaware Nation created an accessible community garden in an area designated as a food desert. Residents of all ages use the garden to plant and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables. The garden includes 25 raised beds, constructed at different heights to accommodate older adults and people with mobility differences. Two beds are specifically designated for growing native plants. Delaware Nation also purchased gardening tools, including wheelbarrows, trellises, garden hoses, an irrigation system and reusable frost blankets. Much of the produce grown onsite is used in meals prepared for the tribe's older members. Tables, shade umbrellas and a charcoal grill allow tribal members to gather and enjoy produce from the garden together.

Chickasha, OK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Public space activation

Description: As part of wider efforts to revitalize Chickasha's downtown, the Chickasha Economic Development Council made several streetscape improvements. To increase foot traffic to local businesses, volunteers decorated crosswalks with pavement art and created a mural. They also installed benches and bike tracks. The branding effort is meant to redefine the town's commercial district and connect it with the surrounding neighborhoods. Project organizers hope to build on the improvements in the future, adding additional public art and pedestrian infrastructure.

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