LAKE WALES, FL – In an effort to combat food insecurity in the community, residents, government officials and non-profit organizations came together Friday morning for a groundbreaking event for the Grove Community Garden on Lake Wales.
The community garden is named for the nearby community of Grove Manor, a Lake Wales Public Housing Authority community, and primarily serves residents of the Northwest Neighborhood of Lake Wales. It is located on city property at the James P. Austin Community Center. , 315 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Lake Wales Landslide participants included Jack Hilligoss, Lake Wales City Council members and public employees, representatives from the Polk County Health Department, the Polk County Food Security Council, KidsPACK Inc., Central Florida Health Care, B Street Community Service Center, Friends of The Grove Garden, Boys and Girls Club of Polk-South Ridge Unit and the United Way Community Wellness Initiative.
Residents, government officials and nonprofit organizations gathered Friday morning for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Grove Community Garden in Lake Wales.
A task force of public health and social services was appointed to the Northwest Neighborhood of Lake Wales after data showed high rates of food insecurity, chronic diseases, health problems and health-related problems in the community where the average income is low. more than $20,000 a year.
The community has long relied on a mom-and-pop market in the Northwest Neighborhood for its groceries but the market is now closed and there is no store within 1 1/2 miles of the community.
That’s too far for many residents who don’t have a car, said Jessica Napoleon, a public health planner with the Polk County Health Department. He said the garden is intended to encourage residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables to supplement their diet.
“We’re taking a vacant lot in the city and turning it into a community garden where people can grow their own food,” he said.
Community gardens have not only become a source of fresh food, says Cheryl Baksh, a specialist with the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment Agency, but they have become a place for families to get out and meet neighbors. exchange gardening tips and educate their children. on the importance of a healthy diet.
“We really want to address food security in the Northwest, but we want to make this place a destination,” he said.
The project team is planning to have raised plants for growing vegetables and set aside space for a vegetable garden and a gazebo for community events. He said the field should be ready for planting in August.
At this time, people who want to participate in the community garden can submit ideas about how to leave the garden and how to do it by emailing Napoleon at Jessica .Napoleon@flhealth.gov.