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Fort Pierre, SD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: To provide residents the chance to grow fresh produce, the City of Fort Pierre began construction of its community garden in 2018. To kick off the project, organizers cleared the lot and constructed 24 raised beds, each including their own water spigot. The City also planted fruit trees at the site. As work continued in 2019, the City erected a fence around the gardens, added wood chips to create mud-free walkways between plots and installed picnic tables. That year all beds in the garden were rented. In 2020, the City added an accessible picnic table with an umbrella. Two local restaurants use the garden to raise produce for their menus and about 75 percent of gardeners renting plots are 60 or older. Project organizers report the success of the garden inspired other efforts to encourage healthy living in Fort Pierre, including improvements to the local trail system, a mural downtown and new lighting on a pedestrian bridge.

Custer, SD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: After flooding destroyed the Custer Community Garden, the Custer Area Economic Development set out to relocate the beloved amenity to a new site. The organization created a new garden at a local high school, installing 16 raised beds, including wheelchair accessible and raised options to accommodate gardeners of all ability levels. Workers laid compost and mulch at the site and installed fencing to keep out foraging wildlife. The school's lunch program now has access to excess produce grown in the garden, which also provides educational programming to the community. Project organizers report that since the improvements, leaders from neighboring communities have reached out for advice for creating their own gardens.

Richmond, VA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Greater Richmond Age Wave Coalition hoped to beautify the Green Park neighborhood and foster relationships between neighbors. To do this, the nonprofit worked to provide community gardening opportunities to residents. To allow older adults to grow produce at home, the nonprofit built 25 garden boxes. Additionally, they created an outdoor courtyard space with raised garden beds at Highland Park Apartments. The Coalition hired local youth to construct and deliver the self-water boxes. The Coalition also held two community gardening events. To help people participate, they offset a portion of public transportation fares for attendees. The Age Wave Coalition's gardening efforts operate under the talent-sharing model, which connects experienced gardeners with people interested learning more about growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Muncie, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Public spaces improvements to increase high-speed internet availability

Description: Sustainable Muncie Corporation installed internet access points at Madjax, the organization's warehouse, which is home to collaborative workspaces, a design and tinkering lab and a makerspace. Previously, public internet access in Muncie was limited to local libraries and coffeeshops. Now residents of the East Central neighborhood can either sit inside Madjax or access Wi-Fi from outside the facility. Project organizers hope their new outdoor internet access points help bridge the digital divide in the community. In addition, the organization is establishing an ambassador program to provide older adults with peer-to-peer technology support. They say the new internet connection has also helped Sustainable Muncie's Retirees Entrepreneurial Club get off the ground.

Kokomo, IN

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2017

Project Category: Improved wayfinding

Description: To encourage residents to be more physically active, the YMCA in Kokomo raised their awareness of county trails, parks and other recreational amenities. The YMCA created signs for the city's trolley stops and for its Walk of Excellence Trail. The signs communicate the distance, direction and walking time to local attractions, including parks, the Kokomo Municipal Stadium and the Kokomo Beach Family Aquatic Center. They also provide information about accessibility for people with disabilities. The project gave the YMCA an opportunity to partner with local stakeholders, such as the city's parks and recreation department and the Indiana University Design Center. Since this effort, the city of Kokomo has continued to promote biking. In 2018, the city launched a free bikesharing program that provides adults and children with bikes, as well as helmets and locks.

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