Jenny Lowrey, From The Ground Up Farms
Jenny Lowrey says that nutritional education saved her life. At one point, she weighed 270 pounds and took 15 medications. She has survived seven heart attacks and a stroke. She is now 130 pounds and takes four heart medications. Although she can’t undo the damage to her heart, Jenny is now on a mission to use community gardening as a tool for personal and community health. Her nonprofit, From the Ground Up Farms, addresses a serious lack of food security and nutritional education in Chico, California through gardening.
Lack of proper nutrition causes more illness, which leads to a spiral of problems from missed days at school and work, and increasing incidence of diseases like some cancers and diabetes. From the Ground Up started with one small neighborhood garden that inspired social interaction between neighbors and offers healthy, community-grown plant based foods plus nutrition workshops.
Jenny explained the impact of their first Pollination Project grant: “It has been like a domino effect. From your grant we were able to install a very large new garden in a new area of town. The media attention we received because of our grant led to new interest in our mission. That led to more volunteers which made for a much lighter load for all. Then all of the equipment we were able to purchase lightened the load even further. As we became recognized the donations of new plants poured in and we doubled the size of the garden in a month. Every single thing leads directly to another positive thing. We know we are doing the right thing.”
Now from one garden, From the Ground Up will have planted and set up 7 community gardens in the Chico, CA area by next spring. One of the gardens will be part of an apartment complex that serves mentally challenged residents who live independently with the help of government aid and low rent. The building managers say that residents typically eat processed, packaged foods and do not have the basic nutritional knowledge to make different choices. Soon, From the Ground Up Farms will be installing the garden for free, and then training and supporting residents to run it and maintain it. Not only will this provide a source of healthy food, but residents will gain nutritional education and support for a healthier lifestyle. It will also bring the residents together, outdoors, in community.
Jenny’s impact grant will be used for a covered trailer and greenhouse which will allow the project to transport materials more easily and make the planting of new gardens more efficient by using the greenhouse to tend to seeds and starts.
From the Ground Up Farms is such a great example of what it looks like when you are in the pocket of goodness.
GRANT AWARD DATE: 2014 Impact Grant