A forgotten schoolyard garden and a half-acre plot behind a nearby community center are providing the setting to build community and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in Gaston Point — a neighborhood in Gulfport, Mississippi, with a Food Environment Index of just 5.2 on a scale of 0 to 10. This index represents a high population having low-income and with low access to a grocery store — as well as the percentage of the population that did not have access to a reliable source of food during the past year.
Partnering with the City’s Police Department and Climb Community Development Corporation, the design team from Gulf Coast Community Design Studio is rallying the community through education and design/build activities at a nearby elementary school where 4th and 5th Grade Students are designing and building their own schoolyard garden — delving into math, science, planting and veggie-tasting in the process!! The schoolyard 'Feed the Seed' garden is being built in conjunction with a new Community Garden in Gaston Point. Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps teams based out of Climb CDC have prepared the Community Garden site and built planter boxes where the students will plant seeds and grow vegetables. The beautiful garden boxes will serve as the entry into the community garden where anyone can become involved in planting, growing and harvesting to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in this community.
'Feed the Seed' is an urban food systems program activating underutilized spaces to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the Gaston Point Community.
Location: Gulfport, Mississippi, population 71,856
The Problem: Adults are consuming less than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge Approach: Feed the Seed Challenge is an urban food project that connects community gardening, nutrition education, and grower’s markets. The program fosters leadership and confidence among youth by giving them opportunities to motivate their school population and community toward healthy food choices, and will work with teachers to integrate gardening activities into Common Core State Standards. Feed the Seed is engaging youth, families and all community members in activities around a community garden and teaching kitchen to increase their knowledge of, access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.