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Jenny Lowrey, From the Ground Up Farms, Chico, CA

Community gardens and nutrition education for vulnerable, residential populations.

Tags: Environment, Community Health, Food Security

Hidden_Gems_4Jenny’s work started a little over a year ago when she and a team of volunteers planted a community garden in a low income, food insecure neighborhood of Chico, CA. Since then, From the Ground Up Farms has planted 10 community gardens in homeless shelters, residential facilities for recovering drug addicts and people with mental illnesses, a battered women’s shelter, a home for runaway youth and a low income daycare facility.

They don’t just build gardens- they train residents and clients to tend to the gardens, and use the food grown in their meals. Every facility they have worked in now has fresh produce on the menu. Some of the gardens have become community gathering places. Recovering drug addicts come to work in the soil as a way to stay sober. Mentally ill inpatients work side by side in their garden with staff and community members. Homeless people have a place to contribute in a hands-on way.

The project has little overhead, but to grow the program install more gardens and provide more nutrition classes, they want to start paying their all-volunteer staff small stipends and reimbursing their out of pocket costs. They also want to have funding for at least 10 more gardens in 2016. The total fully-funded budget in 2016 is $50,000 to maintain and operate 20 gardens, resident-based gardening programs, and nutrition education programs at each facility.

 

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