Pierce Avenue Community Garden!
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The Morris Park Community Garden Project is a new effort that has quickly garnered the support of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, and the surrounding Bronx community. In a little over six months, the Community Garden Project team has acquired usable land for the garden, has begun to engage local community members in incorporating their vision into the garden design, and has nurtured a following, one of the areas indicated of persons in both the Einstein and Bronx communities excited to work the garden once it officially opens in September 2011. Our garden site is located in the East Bronx, an underserved area by community gardens.
The needs of this diverse following are many. The Garden aims primarily to confront the dangerously high prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the Bronx. Currently, more than 1 in 10 persons in the Bronx has diabetes and more than 7 in 10 are obese or overweight. Furthermore, fresh fruits and vegetables are difficult to access in the Bronx, which has given it the title of a ‘food desert.’ Given that diet is a crucial determinant of one's weight and metabolic health as well as the need for more sources of fresh foods, the BODY Community Garden Project's design focuses on creating an opportunity for improved access to healthy food. Simultaneously, the project also focuses on education about diet, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles. Community members also will be able to attend classes on nutrition, covering topics such as calorie counting and cooking. As our project grows, we will install flower, children's, and herb gardens around this green space, a picnic area will appear, and a community-based mural will cover the large concrete wall that forms one side of the garden. In an area known for crowded blocks and concrete buildings, the garden will provide a green, open escape full of fresh, plant-filtered air.
Most importantly, however, the garden will offer raised beds for the growing of fruits and vegetables. Beyond simply providing fresh, accessible produce to those who come to work the garden, these beds will provide an invaluable educational opportunity. Here, community members will have the opportunity to learn about nutrition in a concrete, practical way. They will exchange sedentary habits for the chance to have an active role in the development of their food. Participants will be empowered not only to make better decisions about the food they purchase and consume, but also to live with these decisions in a more affordable way.
Here is the garden layout: