Urban Gardens Promote Healthy Eating in Food Deserts

Chicago Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice explores the virtues of urban gardens, saying that they help promote healthy eating and create jobs in poor communities.

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In her Chicago Tribune column, Dawn Turner Trice writes about the importance of community gardens in neighborhoods where there are precious few structural resources such as grocery stores and other bustling businesses. She says that urban farming promotes healthy eating and generates jobs.

Growing Home has two farms and two gardens in Chicago. The one at 58th and Wood streets is a year-round organic farm, partially funded by the city. It has three hoop houses, which allow vegetables to grow through the winter. A hoop house is a less expensive greenhouse made of installation plastic that traps the heat of the sun.

[Seneca] Kern said the Wood Street Urban Farm, which is just two-thirds of an acre, grew and sold more than 11,000 pounds of organic produce in 2010 and earned more than $45,000. The money supports the organization and various community projects.

He said he knows organic farming won't solve all of the problems in embattled communities or elsewhere.

"Selling organics to some people means emphasizing the health aspects," said Kern. "But sometimes you have to reframe the message. Sometimes you have to say, 'This is about saving money and working toward a more self-sustaining community.'

"The message in our poorer communities is, 'Look at what you can do even though you don't have much money. You can have a good life.'"

Read Dawn Turner Trice's entire column at the Chicago Tribune.

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