Community members know that resources available in a community, from healthy food to good parks and safe streets, make a difference in their health and the health of their children. When interest in food and community emerged as a theme in 2009, we started a small community garden. That has grown into major garden spaces and many ways for people to learn together and take action for a healthy, strong community.
As with all our work, the specifics in this area evolve as we learn with people in the community.
Community Gardening and Food
Hope operates 7,500 square feet of growing space in three gardens on Hope property, including a recently completed 5,000-square-foot garden at the new Rose building. We’re building community capacity for collective management by engaging teams of community volunteers in garden operations. Communal gardens and hands-on workshops engage people across all ages in food-related activities around health, culture, community and land stewardship. Regular group cooking sessions bring people together to share new foods and make nutritious meals at an affordable price. The Land Stewardship Project is a key partner in this work.
Community Circles of Hope is a vehicle for neighbors to get to know each other, build relationships and act together to improve individual and community health. Community members are trained to serve as hosts and facilitators for conversations among neighbors. Neighbors meet over a series of meals to discuss community strengths and challenges, and to plan short-term group projects. In this process, community members build and strengthen social connections—one of the most sustainable ways to improve health in the neighborhood.
Across our work, we create spaces for community members to learn and to act on their own leadership. We are building a base of engaged residents to influence community decisions in ways that reflect and align with community interests and priorities. A major community listening process about food and food justice engaged 415 residents in dialogues. The report — “Feed The Roots” — was completed in 2015. We also work on transit equity and resource allocation along Franklin Avenue, the major thoroughfare that cuts through the community.
Contacts for more information:
Alisa Hoven, Community Gardening and Food
Khusaba Seka, Community Circles of Hope