Nutrition Gardens: Growing Healthy Children

House of Hope is seeding Martin County with Nutrition Gardens to engage local youth with educational opportunities focused on gardening, healthy eating habits, and future career options.

"Rather than 'give a man a fish, feed him for a day,' this is a 'teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime' approach to solving a community need," House of Hope CEO Rob Ranieri said.

Current Locations

  • Banner Lake After School Time (B.L.A.S.T.) at The Banner Lake Club of Hobe Sound
  • Residents Empowering All Children's Hope (R.E.A.C.H) at the Costella Williams Learning Center in New Monrovia Park of Stuart
  • Jensen After School Experience (J.A.S.E) at the Vince Bocchino Community Center in Rio 
  • Golden Gate Alternative After School Program (G.A.A.P) at the Cassidy Center in Lamar Howard Park of Stuart
  • Golden Gate Center for Enrichment, 3225 SE Dixie Hwy, Stuart
  • Aeroponic Greenhouse, 2484 SE Bonita Street, Stuart

The Root Problem

Recent community assessment data shared by the Florida Department of Health in Martin County raised serious concern about high rates of childhood obesity and other chronic illnesses. Martin County has high levels of childhood obesity -- more than 30% -- and in certain economically challenged communities, that number is a high as 60%. Some of the same communities also have higher-than-normal rates for adult diabetes and have a generally poor understanding of good nutrition and lack healthy eating habits.

The Solutions

In a concerted effort to reduce food insecurity, improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and promote healthy eating habits, House of Hope and select partners have created nutrition gardens in targeted communities. The gardens serve multiple purposes:

  • To provide local youth with educational opportunities focused on gardening, healthy eating habits, and basic cooking instruction geared toward preparing healthy meals.
  • To raise awareness of the link between nutrition and healthy eating to overall good health and development in children and adults.
  • To increase access to healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, herbs) in order to combat the rising levels of childhood obesity and chronic diseases in Martin County.
  • To provide additional fresh produce to food pantries and soup kitchens within the communities where the gardens are based.
  • To connect children and families to local opportunities for health and nutrition education
  • To allow children and families to assist in being part of a solution to local hunger and health issues.
  • To teach local teens skills associated with the gardens, including planning, methods of gardening methods, and sales and marketing.

Our agricultural coordinator, Laura Lyman is engaging volunteers, seeking future sites, developing relationships in the agricultural community, and recruiting new partners around the education and gardening aspects of the project.

Partners so far:  Martin County Office of Community Partnerships, Martin County Solid Waste, University of Florida/IFAS, Keep Martin Beautiful, The Banner Lake Club, United Way of Martin County, Children's Services Council, and the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.

How to Help

You can play a role in these transformational efforts through volunteering, offering in-kind materials and services, and providing monetary support.

For more information and to get involved, please contact House of Hope agricultural coordinator Laura Lyman at or (772) 286-4673, ext. 1018