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Winnemucca, NV

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: A large community garden in one of Winnemucca's parks had fallen into disrepair. But organizers with Age- and Dementia-Friendly Winnemucca saw the space's potential and set out to revitalize the community space. Organizers wanted to make the garden accessible, allowing people with mobility issues to garden while seated, or simply observe others while they work. To achieve this, they installed hip-height raised garden beds onsite. Additionally, they laid down pavers to create smooth surface suitable for people using wheelchairs and walkers. New benches completed the transformation, giving visitors a comfortable space to rest. To ensure the garden remains well cared for, the age-friendly initiative also purchased a weedwhacker for the site, along with a drip irrigation system. Organizers say the project's success inspired local leaders to consider other ways to improve the park.

Anchorage, AK

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Many Anchorage residents who visit the city's food pantries have traditionally lacked access to fresh produce. The St. Francis House Food Pantry, run by Catholic Social Services, serves more than 10,000 people every year, distributing more than 700,000 pounds of food. To offer more fresh vegetables, CSS transformed an underused courtyard on the St. Francis House property into a community garden with 15 raised beds. Volunteers also created a mural depicting Alaska wildlife to decorate the area used for drive-through food pickup. Older adult volunteers manage the garden, which gives food pantry clients and CSS staff a space to share ideas and culture across socioeconomic, age and racial boundaries.

Providence, RI

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: To give residents of the Amos House shelter program opportunities to socialize, as well as access to fresh produce, the Southside Community Land Trust created a community garden at the St. Martin De Porres Center. Participants in the Trust's youth program worked to build raised garden beds onsite, added seating and painted murals. To honor residents' African, Caribbean and Central American roots, organizers chose a tropical theme for the artwork. The effort was intergenerational -- older adult residents supervised the youth workers as they planted herbs and vegetables. Today, Amos House residents are involved in all aspects of tending the garden, from planting to harvesting and meal preparation. Additionally, the nonprofit's soup kitchen uses vegetables from the garden to provide tens of thousands of meals to food insecure families each year.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Bridgeport, CT

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Engaging people in transportation options/safety

Description: To create community cohesion and connection, Groundwork Bridgeport's walking club hosted three intergenerational walking events in Bridgeport's downtown and along its waterfront. Using the AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit as a guide, participants helped identify important community destinations, as well as ways to improve the pedestrian experience. They also collected litter as they walked. Before each walk, volunteers placed temporary wayfinding stickers on the sidewalks to help the group navigate. Project organizers say the initiative's popularity demonstrated an appetite for walking activities and pedestrian paths in Bridgeport. Today, the organization continues to host its walking club, which meets every Saturday.

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.

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