Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: New Town Success Zone

Gardening Know How's School and Community Garden Sponsorship program was fortunate enough to help support 10 gardens with a $1,000 each. The gardens selected represent a small portion of the school and community gardens out there, and we are excited to share each of their stories with you. Once a month we highlight one of these recipients. This month we are featuring the New Town Success Zone. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, visionaries from Edward Waters College are working to improve both the health and well-being of residents in the community of New Town. Predominantly an African American community, it's plagued with the one of the highest cases of childhood obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the city...simply because people living here don't have access to nutritional foods, until now. The community resides in what's been labeled as a "food desert" - parts of the country lacking fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthful food sources, and generally found in impoverished areas. How can this be? Normally, grocery stores or farmers' markets and the like are not within easy access. In fact, the nearest grocery in New Town is located nearly 3 miles outside of the city, making it difficult for many of the community's residents to get there without suitable transportation, and those that can generally find it difficult to afford. And this is where the previously mentioned New Town Success Zone "visionaries" come in. To help address this issue, they started an urban garden with a number of middle school students working in the garden. Used as a teaching tool where both students and community volunteers learn valuable gardening skills, like how to grow and care for vegetable plants in the garden, they're also learning about the importance of eating a healthy diet. And they're even selling the fruits of their labor, offering fresh fruits and vegetables to those in the community at a reasonable price, with all proceeds being reinvested back into the garden. With additional help from Gardening Know How, funds are being implemented in the installation of both a sprinkler and rain barrel collection system. Having the ability to provide adequate irrigation, including during times of drought, will help ensure the ongoing success of the garden and crop yields, which is key to helping enhance the quality of life to those living in this community. Gardening Know How strives to provide not only the best possible information to upcoming and seasoned gardeners, but also takes pride in reaching out to those in need through our sponsorship program. We are pleased to be a part of the New Town community's growing success!

Nikki Tilley
Senior Editor

Nikki Tilley has been gardening for nearly three decades. The former Senior Editor and Archivist of Gardening Know How, Nikki has also authored six gardening books.