Cultivating Community Gardens

The Role of Local Government in Creating Healthy, Livable Neighborhoods

 

Case Study: Improving Food Security in Del Paso Heights, California

The Sacramento neighborhood of Del Paso Heights is an ethnically diverse, low-income community with limited access to healthy foods. Many of the residents are from cultures that value farming, but lack access to gardening space.

To address the area’s poor access to fresh fruits and vegetables and the significant increases in obesity, a task force comprised of community and local government organizations convened in 1994 and decided to develop a community garden as their first project. Initial funding was provided by Sacramento County’s First 5 Commission to the Sacramento County Women Infant and Children (WIC) Program, and is now managed by the Health Education Council, a nonprofit organization.

WIC worked with residents to transform a previously unused four-acre plot adjacent to Martin Luther King Junior High School into a community garden that now provides space for 85 families to grow produce. Since then, two additional gardens have been established.

In 2005, the Health Education Council, Soil Born Farm Urban Agriculture Project, the city of Sacramento Department of Parks and Recreation and the Mutual Assistance Network of Del Paso Heights established a farmer’s market in Del Paso Heights. Five local residents that grow produce at the Stone Soup Gardens sell their produce at the market. Students from Grant Joint High School’s Stone Soup garden sell plants, salsa and flowers at the market.

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