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[ Community Gardens: Sowing Seeds to Help Soup Kitchens ]

GARDENWith the arrival of spring, a network of community gardens in Pennsylvania is prepping for another growing season, and for providing fresh, locally grown produce to low-income individuals and residents.

The Cultivating Communities Campaign (CCC) has been producing a healthy harvest in Montgomery County since 2011.

Christina Miller is a senior program director with the Health Promotion Council, which oversees the program.

She says the Council refuses to let a lack of resources or rides to the store get in the way of giving people who need help, access to good nutrition.

“We have actually more than 35 community partners,” she explains. “That includes growers and distributors of fresh produce, and produce more than 30,000 pounds of produce for low-income families.”

According to Council figures, nearly two thirds of recipients surveyed say they were better able to provide healthy meals for themselves and their families due to produce they received through the program.

Seven out of 10 reported eating more fresh fruits and vegetables as a result.

Miller says the Cultivating Communities Campaign gives back in other ways, too.

“There have been individuals involved at all ages, from children right through older adults, both in the growing of produce and the distributing of it, and the receiving of it as well,” she explains.

Miller says the success of CCC can be measured by the fact that the program will continue even after funding for it ends this month.

“The organizations that are growing the produce and distributing the produce will actually continue to do that in the absence of the organizations that have been providing support over the past three years,” she says.

Source:  Keystone State News Connection

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