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Providence, RI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Amos House, which serves unhoused and unemployed people and those living in poverty, developed a volunteer-managed garden to provide fresh ingredients for the organization's soup kitchen. Amos House installed four raised garden beds and two containers for growing herbs. The organization relied on labor from participants in its carpentry program and planted seeds donated by a local farm. Following construction of the 900-square-foot garden, Amos House recruited 20 volunteers age 50 and older to tend the garden. In the summer of 2019, the garden yielded produce valued at 6,500, which they used to prepare 15,000 meals. Residents of Amos House's shelter programs participate in gardening and harvesting, which project organizers say represented an important social activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bronx, NY

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Morris Community Garden had suffered years of neglect, and the abandoned site was overrun with rats. To breathe new live into the space, BronxWorks restored the garden, located near a senior center and three schools. They renamed the space Bean Morris Garden to memorialize a young man from the neighborhood. To welcome people of all ages and abilities, the nonprofit added accessible seating to the space, along with raised garden beds. Since the renovation, residents of all ages have volunteered to tend to the plots. Organizers say the amenity offers an important outdoor gathering space for the community.

New Orleans, LA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Located within a food desert, the Upper 9th Ward of New Orleans has endured hurricanes and years of disinvestment. To give residents a gathering space, provide healthy food and create a respite from hot weather, Water Wise Gulf South and the Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association planned a new community orchard and vegetable garden. Volunteers cleared the site of debris and overgrowth. They then spread hardwood mulch in the orchard area and planted orange, lemon and persimmon trees. In the garden they built planter boxes and filled them with spinach, lettuce, mustard greens and passionflower vines. The site incorporates solar-powered charging stations a pavilion to provide shade and green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff. Organizers hope the orchard and garden will allow for neighborhood events, access to fresh food and opportunities to educate locals about stormwater management and food production.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Wilmington, DE

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2024

Project Category: Digital Connectivity for Disasters

Description: This project will provide training on preparing for disasters and distribute preparedness kits to participants. The initiative will also outfit a mobile emergency disaster unit with solar-powered satellite internet access and portable charging units.

Wilmington, DE

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public art installations

Description: During the planning stages for a mural at the 4th Rodney Park, Pastor Lottie Lee-Davis -- a community leader and the project's main partner -- was killed in a car crash. The original goal for the mural was to depict positive imagery for neighborhood children to look up to as they played. After Pastor Lottie's death, organizers used the mural to honor the woman who was a beloved leader and advocate for the 4th Street corridor's residents. Local artists Crae Washington and JaQuanne LeRoy Daniels made Lee-Davis the central figure in the mural, surrounding her with bold colors and words representing career aspirations of the area's children and teens. Since the mural's installation other improvements have come to the park, including new greenery and a bike repair station. Cornerstone West has also worked to implement public art and beautification projects at other nearby parks, including Judy Johnson Park, Cool Spring Park and Tilton Park.

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