The first harvest of House of Hope’s three nutrition gardens has yielded 311 pounds of fresh produce for the community. Intended to offer nutrition-rich options for House of Hope’s clients, the bounty stocked our Client Choice Pantries.
House of Hope currently oversees two garden locations including Project L.I.F.T. in Palm City, and The Banner Lake Club of Hobe Sound. There is also a Golden Gate location coming soon. Each garden has invited participation from its surrounding community allowing those benefiting to take an active role. Already, the opportunity has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm.
This month, partnering agencies Project L.I.F.T. and The Willow Project organized their enrolled youth to harvest an assortment of fresh vegetables and herbs. The nutrition garden at L.I.F.T.’s Palm City location has been an educational and hands-on experience for everyone involved and the young gardeners love it. The gardens also serve as part of a larger curriculum intended to inspire and encourage at-risk youth to overcome the obstacles they have faced and to pursue new goals for themselves.
Willow Project coordinator Alisia Kifer remarks, “It feels good to see the product of our hard work. It’s great to know that between the gardens at Project L.I.F.T. and other gardens in Martin County, we can help feed those in need.”
The Project L.I.F.T. garden’s future projects include creating a hydroponic system, linear and hanging growing system, and repurposing plastic water bottles to create a greenhouse. At Banner Lake Club, children ages 5 and up have planted 40 self-watering garden containers with a variety of fruits and vegetables. They have also been participating in nutrition education and gardening activities offered by program partners from the University of Florida. Soon, the children will be harvesting lettuce and herbs to make their own salad.
House of Hope CEO Rob Ranieri informs, “our nutrition garden goals are multi-purpose: they are engaging local youth and other residents with educational opportunities focused on gardening, encouraging healthy eating habits as well as agricultural and culinary career options. By providing a supplemental food source in conjunction with nutrition education for the community, the gardens also help combat the rising levels of childhood obesity and chronic diseases in Martin County.”
House of Hope’s successful nutrition gardens can be attributed to the collaboration of the following agencies: Martin County Solid Waste, Martin County Office of Community Partnerships, Martin County Agricultural Extension Office, Children’s Services Council of Martin County, United Way of Martin County, University of Florida/IFAS, Keep Martin Beautiful, The Banner Lake Club, Project LIFT, and Florida Department of Health in Martin County.
To get involved with House of Hope’s nutrition gardens, contact the agricultural coordinator,
Laura Lyman at (772) 286 – 4673 x 1018 or email Laura@hohmartin.org.