West Georgia Community Gardens to Feed the Needy and Educate Youth

April 29, 2014

New Community Gardens Sprouting up for Earth Week

Several local churches, schools and community groups have been selected to receive assistance from Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative to start their own community gardens. Some of the gardens will be used to grow food for local needy families and others will focus on educating young people about growing and eating fresh, healthy vegetables and fruit.

“We’re bringing community partners together to help feed our neighbors and reach people who need fresh food,” said Denise Taylor, Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health, Strategy and Brand Officer at Tanner Health System. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity to educate the next generation about growing fresh vegetables and fruit.”

Members of Piney Grove Baptist Church in Carrollton launched their new community garden with the help of Get Healthy, Live Well on April 21. The congregation will grow a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables to supply healthy food to their members and the community.

The effort kicked off on April 17 at The Home Depot in Villa Rica, where the groups built raised beds for their gardens. Get Healthy, Live Well provided the garden supplies and soil, and The Home Depot employees taught the groups how to build the raised beds and help with construction.

There are 11 community partners who were selected to receive support through Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative, and they will be working on a total of 26 garden beds. The gardens will use 780 bags of soil and 16 rolls of weed barrier, and will grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruit. Some of the crops will include tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra, corn and strawberries.

This marks the second year of Get Healthy, Live Well’s community garden project. Last April, the first community garden launched in Carrollton’s Knox Park and another in October at Stockmar Park in Villa Rica.

Community gardens provide residents with sustainably grown produce, neighborhood improvements, a sense of community and a connection to the environment. The gardens are a prime example of how local partnerships help create a stronger, healthier community.

Lifeline Mission, an outreach program of Midway Church, is one the community partners growing food for the needy. The group has a strong history of helping the poor in west Georgia.

“I like how this effort brings everyone together — not just a Baptist church or a Methodist church – but a whole bunch of community members working together to help those in need,” said Paul Gentry, director of Lifeline Mission.

Knox Park Community Garden is a partnership between Get Healthy, Live Well, Tanner Health System, Keep Carroll Beautiful, the City of Carrollton, Incredible Edible Carrollton, Carroll County Master Gardeners and The Home Depot. Stockmar Park Community Garden is a partnership between Get Healthy, Live Well, Tanner Health System, Keep Carroll Beautiful, the City of Villa Rica, Pine Mountain Gold Museum, The Home Depot and Carroll County Master Gardeners.

“We’re excited about having another opportunity to bring our community together to initiate positive change and improve the health of many residents of west Georgia,” said Taylor.

Tanner Health System’s Get Healthy, Live Well initiative is working to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent chronic disease for residents of Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties by decreasing health disparities, reducing obesity rates, eliminating tobacco use, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition. The collaborative is funded by a Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More information is available online at http://gethealthylivewell.org/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/gethealthylivewell.

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