- Agronomic: potatoes
- Fruits: bananas, pineapples
- Vegetables: beans, greens (leafy), okra, peas (culinary), taro
- Additional Plants: herbs
- Education and Training: extension, networking
- Farm Business Management: economic/marketing
- Sustainable Communities: public participation
Access to healthy food is a national concern. Teaching people to produce food for themselves is essential to building sustainable and healthy communities (Community Food Security Coalition: Health 2008). Project Fresh: Mountain View Community Gardens is an agricultural educational community outreach program designed to nurture farmers in order to increase the number of food growers, food marketers, healthy food choices and affordable nutritious local produce. Thirty low-income participants, seniors, families, school-age children and youth were given hands-on mentoring in ecologically friendly farming. The sustainable practices included creating compost and vermicompost, learning the benefits of plant and animal symbiosis and utilizing strategies which encourage biodiversity. A short questionnaire administered at the beginning and after participating in Project Fresh for fifteen months revealed that families are making healthy food choices, providing food for the family table, sharing, donating or marketing the surplus and passing on the gifts of eco-friendly farming and recycling methods, which are generating ripple effects in our community. Currently 40 million Americans are using food stamps (USDA; 2010). Planting seeds and nurturing their growth is crucial and catalytic in producing nutritious food, conserving water and land resources, reducing family food budgets and providing income.
Project goals are to contribute to community food self-reliance. Goals include:
a)providing families with eco-friendly farming practice in food production (cultivation, harvesting and marketing)
b) providing food for the family table
c) giving back to the community (through sharing or marketing) the surplus to contribute to the local economy and increase family income.