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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.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Philadelphia's Hunter Park neighborhood is considered a food desert. The Food Trust's community orchard, garden and farmer's market give local families a way to access fresh fruits and vegetables. To raise awareness, Food Trust workers handed out fliers and put up banners directing residents to the market. They also put on a fall festival, which featured a series of walking tours of the gardening facilities, which are located within a neighborhood park. Volunteers distributed coupons to attendees, allowing them to purchase fruits and vegetables grown onsite. Additionally, the Food Trust provided tour participants with garden kits and encouraged them to join the volunteer-led community garden. Since the publicity efforts, project organizers report a boost in garden membership.

Philadelphia, PA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: The Viola Street Community Garden has served the East Parkside neighborhood for half a century. But the garden faced challenges related to soil quality water access -- gardeners had to haul in water barrels from a fire hydrant down the block. And because the City owned the garden property, its future was uncertain. After Neighborhood Gardens Trust assumed ownership, they wanted to improve the space. The organization built raised beds, brought in fresh soil and installed a new irrigation system. Volunteers also laid down ADA-accessible pathways to accommodate gardeners of all ages and abilities. New fencing, as well as a picnic table and shade umbrella, made the space welcoming. Since the upgrades, the Trust has added new parcels to the garden's footprint. Organizers say the garden helps ensure food access for West Philadelphia families, helping heal disparities resulting from systemic racism and disinvestment.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Highmore, SD

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2023

Project Category: Park enhancements

Description: The project will rebuild a community swimming pool and make it more accessible for older adults and people with disabilities by adding features such as zero-depth entry, an ADA-compliant lift and in-pool seating.

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