Carthay Elementary School, located in Los Angeles, is one of 17 schools to receive a $10,000 grant from Seeds of Change, an organic seed and farming supply company. The grant will go toward the school’s Garden of Possibilities, a community garden run by elementary school students and faculty. With the receipt of the funds, the school plans to open up the community garden to area locals, offering workshops on locavore culture, organic farming, cooking, and the benefits of buying and eating locally grown produce.
The Project Aims to Improve Access to Nutritious Foods
By opening the garden to the public, Carthay Elementary hopes to give increased access to people who have little chance to buy and consume more nutritious food. An estimated 23-million Americans live in so-called “food deserts,” areas of the country where geography and climate make it hard to have steady access to fruits and vegetables without having them trucked in. Add to that the fact that Food and Drug Administration rules on specialty produce, encompassing most fruits and veggies that aren’t corn or soybeans, bar most fruits and veggies from crop subsidies that would reduce costs for the American family, and price becomes another huge obstacle for access.
The Movement Could Slow Climbing Obesity Levels
As programs like Carthay’s Garden of Possibilites continue to spread throughout the country, the States’ existing food infrastructure has an opportunity to change for the better. Many documentaries, like the recent “Fed Up,” and an onslaught of recent news articles have focused on the role of corporatized food and a corrupt FDA in the number of obese Americans. At last glance, 68.5% of American adults are either overweight or obese.
“Projects like these show the power individuals have in making a large impact on their health and their community. Focusing on the ideas of access to all individuals – access to nutritious foods, organic farming, cooking, and local seasonal produce – are what will change the current tide of chronic diseases and obesity.” says Kellie Hill from The Right Plan.
While nutrition is only half of the equation for Americans keeping their weight at healthy levels, Carthay and schools like it represent a hope for educating younger Americans and their community members on how to live happier and healthier lives. As the local movement continues to spread, increased access, more than anything else, might be the solution we’ve been waiting for.