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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.

St. Louis, MO

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: STL Village partnered with volunteers from the community to restore the Lewis Place Community Garden, which had gone unplanted during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers cleared the site of overgrowth, refurbished garden beds, installed a storage shed and planted and watered vegetables, shrubs and trees. Neighborhood residents formed a garden committee charged with maintaining the site going forward. STL Village also created a resource guide for local older adults with a specific focus on services for low-income families.

Houston, TX

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2021

Project Category: Community Gardens

Description: Once a vacant lot, the Harry Holmes Healthy Harvest provides free access to garden beds for resident of Houston's Sunnyside neighborhood, a historically Black community. The Houston Land Bank wanted to improve the space to make it more welcoming to people of all ages and abilities. Volunteers built raised beds and installed solar lighting to allow gardeners to work after dark. They also created an accessible pathway, which is designed to be less muddy and slippery after rain. New fig trees at the garden's entrance beautify the space and provide fresh fruit. To celebrate the project's completion, the Land Bank hosted a community event, which promoted grandparents and grandchildren gardening together. At the event, organizers distributed information on financial literacy and affordable paths to homeownership.

Nearby AARP Community Challenge Projects

Richmond, VA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2019

Project Category: Public or private transit access

Description: To make waiting for the bus more comfortable and accessible for residents of the Northside neighborhood, Storefront for Community Design installed six benches. The organization partnered with Northside Strong, a coalition of community groups and local nonprofits, as well as environmental group Groundwork RVA. To determine the best locations for the benches, Northside Strong conducted a study and held public engagement sessions, which more than 200 residents attended. Project organizers then hosted multigenerational events where residents designed, painted and installed the benches. They offered stipends to 44 low-income community members for their time, labor and expertise throughout the project. Organizers with Storefront for Community Design say the community-wide collaboration shows the necessity of providing amenities, such as benches, for Richmond residents.

Richmond, VA

AARP Community Challenge Grant Year: 2020

Project Category: Roadway/sidewalks/crosswalk improvement

Description: Hundreds of elementary school students cross busy Lynhaven Avenue each day on their way to school in Richmond's Bellemeade neighborhood. Walk audits and other community engagement efforts have shown speeding and distracted driving are a common issue on the street. To slow down traffic and improve safety, Sports Backers commissioned local artists to create pavement murals at two intersections. Project organizers hope murals catch the attention of motorists, encouraging them to pay attention to the road and slow down.

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