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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.

Greenville, MS

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: As part of efforts to transform a vacant lot into a community garden, Greenville's Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church installed a new fence and hoop houses at the site. The hoop houses cover the beds and keep them warm, allowing gardeners to grow produce through the winter months. In addition, the church installed a sign to inform passersby about the Third and Spruce Community Garden. Since these improvements, project organizers made an agreement with a local food pantry to provide fresh produce to individuals and families facing food insecurity. During the 2021-2022 growing season, the garden produced about 900 pounds of fruits and vegetables. The Church also plans to hold gardening skills workshops and healthy food demonstrations for the community.

San Francisco, CA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2018

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: When the Florence Fang Asian Community Garden opened in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood in 2014, it focused on serving Asian immigrant elders and filled a need for green space and fresh food. This project expanded the garden, adding 3,000 square feet of gardening space and making it the second largest urban farm in San Francisco. The additional space allowed gardeners to try new techniques -- such as row planting -- that increased the garden's yields. Additionally, organizers upgraded the garden's compost system and set up beehives to help with pollinating crops. The larger harvest allowed garden organizers to distribute four tons of produce annually to local families in needs, including culturally relevant foods such as bok choy and Chinese chives.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Tacoma, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Many families in Tacoma struggle to access fresh, nutritious food. To allow residents to harvest vegetables in their own neighborhoods, Food is Free planted garden plots throughout the city. Organizers installed raised garden beds in residents' front yards, in tree boxes and in the public right-of-way along the city's sidewalks. Food is Free ensured the gardens met the City's code requirements. Each garden produces about 100 pounds of produce annually. Gardeners get to keep a fifth of their harvest, with the rest offered to residents during food share events held in a local park. In addition to increasing food access, project organizers say the effort helped participants -- including older adults -- become more engaged with one another.

Puyallup, WA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Entrepreneurship and improved economic resilience

Description: This project created an age-friendly business certification program, which identifies businesses that intentionally accommodate older adult customers. After recruiting businesses to participate, project organizers scored each one based on customer service, environment, access and discounts. To incentivize businesses to participate, the Main Street Association chose six businesses with a 90 score to win decorative planter boxes. Participating businesses signed a pledge to be age-friendly and received certification stickers to display in their storefront windows. Businesses can apply to be re-certified every two years.

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