Community Gardens Bring People Together

CommunityGarden_728Many people today struggle to eat balanced meals, but for some it’s because they simply can’t access fresh produce. This is one reason why community gardens are increasing in popularity, as they provide people with the opportunity to grow and eat healthy, delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Community gardens bring people together at a central location where they work side by side to grow food for their families and neighborhoods. Through this experience, community members directly contribute to the cultivation of foods that nourish their bodies. These gardens provide a fun, educational experience for children and adults alike, teaching them how to care for living plants and lead a healthy lifestyle.

CommunityGarden_872Initiatives such as these are an exciting way to expand the health and wellness efforts of organizations that tackle the high rates of diabetes and obesity among Latinos. The Eastmont Community Garden, for example, has been well received and draws families in East Los Angeles for regular planting, weeding, and harvesting sessions. It is a great way for the Eastmont Community Center to enhance the outreach it conducts through NCLR’s nutrition education program, Comprando rico y sano, which educates people about cost-saving, healthy shopping strategies and the importance of cooking healthy meals at home.

Gardening is a terrific way to teach people how to eat healthily and incorporate the produce they grow into their daily meals. Community gardens also allow families to stretch their budgets. It can be fairly inexpensive to grow fruits and vegetables. Even those with limited budgets can eat nutritious foods on a consistent basis if they grow their own.

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Finally, community gardens offer the added benefits of being outside and active. There is no substitute for fresh, nutritious food that you grow yourself, and it is even more fun when you grow it alongside your family, friends, and neighbors!

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month—the perfect time to learn how to start a community garden and make delicious, healthy recipes for your family this summer. Start your garden today!

This blog post is part of Comprando rico y sano, a program supported by the Walmart Foundation and General Mills, Inc.

Cuts to SNAP Could Cost Millions of Children Their Next Meal

By Teresa Palacios, Executive Director, Eastmont Community Center

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Teresa Palacios

Many of us take for granted the simple luxury of putting dinner on the table every night. But, millions of struggling Americans don’t know where their next meal will come from. Far too many communities across this country have been hard hit by the hunger epidemic and now Washington is proposing to cut off one of the few lifelines that they have left.

Included in the House version of the “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 1947),” known as the Farm Bill, is a proposal to cut more than $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over ten years.  SNAP has served as a means for millions of Latinos to overcome poverty and it ensures access to sufficient food.  About one in six Americans rely on the program to feed their families every night, but the proposed cuts would eliminate access to SNAP for approximately 2.5 million families.

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