NeighborWorks Week (June 4-11) is a nationally recognized week-long celebration of neighborhood revitalization activities. NeighborWorks organizations across the country mobilized tens of thousands of residents, business people and government officials in a week of neighborhood change and awareness. It was the perfect time to kick-off the GROW Project. GROW is a collaboration between the Partnership for Public Health (PPH), Laconia Area Community Land Trust (LACLT), Lakes Region Child Care Centers (LRCCC), Lakes Region Food Network, UNH Cooperative Extension, the Opechee Garden Club, and volunteer master gardeners, with funding support provided by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and NeighborWorks Week. The goal of GROW is to create more opportunities to access and consume healthy foods for low- and moderate-income families.
The first year of this three year project will concentrate on communities in Franklin and Tilton. Starting this month tenants of Lochmere Meadows, an affordable housing complex in Tilton, will have: weekly on-site access to a Farm Stand that provides fresh local produce at a discount and accepts SNAP; on-site healthy food demonstrations, classes, and taste testing; a demonstration garden that will be used to teach tenants about gardening with the hopes of increasing interest to warrant the construction of a larger community garden in year two. Container gardens have been given to tenants to have at their individual residences to show the ease and benefit of gardening as an additional way to build knowledge and excitement about the community garden.
Lisa Morris, Executive Director of the Partnership for Public Health believes that “children and their parents want to understand the relationship between what they eat and how it affects their health. Along with this understanding, families need to have access to fruits and vegetables and learn how to prepare healthy meals and snacks.”
At the Tilton kick-off event Lochmere Meadow tenants helped plant the demonstration gardens, decorated and planted container gardens, viewed a cooking demonstration and tried food samples, made purchases at the Farm Stand, and played healthy food trivia to earn a spin of the prize wheel. This event was a great way to start such a valuable program.
The Partnership for Public Health is a resource center for information, referral, technical assistance and support in the area of aging, substance misuse, suicide prevention, public health emergency preparedness, healthy eating, active living and more. The agency convenes community sectors to identify needs and develop plans to improve health outcomes. For more information on the Partnership and to view the Winnipesaukee Region Community Health Improvement Plan, go to www.pphnh.org.
The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.
The NeighborWorks network is an affiliation of more than 240 nonprofit organizations located in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. In 2015, the NeighborWorks network helped nearly 356,000 individuals and families with affordable housing and counseling. The NeighborWorks network was founded and is supported by NeighborWorks America, which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. www.neighborworks.org