With April around the corner, community gardens and farmers markets are gearing up for another season!
There are many Plan4Health groups working to improve access to healthy food through community gardens. The coalition in Summit County, Ohio focused their Plan4Health efforts on expanding the use of garden space and combating food deserts through the availability of fresh produce. In an effort to encourage local jurisdictions and residents to take ownership of community gardens, the coalition partners, including Let’s Grow Akron, hosted an expo with free seeds and resources. The coalition discussed their work in a recent Plan4Health nutrition peer call, and highlighted the importance of starting small with strong successes to build trust among community members and city officials.
Learn more about community gardens by visiting Plan4Health’s curated list of resources, which includes a toolkit developed by ChangeLab Solutions – Dig, Eat, and Be Healthy: A Guide to Growing Food on Public Property.
Farmers markets are popping up in communities across the country. Not only are the number of markets rising, but also the number of markets that accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers – meaning that fresh, local produce is accessible in an increasingly equitable way to a diverse range of community members.
According to the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC), farmers markets are important because they stimulate local economies, preserve farmland and rural livelihoods, increase access to fresh food, and support healthy communities. Curious to see if there is a farmers market in your community? Visit the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory, and check out FMC’s Resource Library to learn more about the benefits of farmers markets.
Images from Summit County, OH Plan4Health coalition and Trenton, NJ Plan4Health coalition.