Live Healthy Houma, a community coalition led by the LSU AgCenter, transformed a local park in Houma, Louisiana into a community garden. The project began in January of 2019. LSU AgCenter staff held a local public forum to find out what could be done to make the community healthier.
Downtown Houma is a low-income area where 50% of the population is eligible for SNAP and other federal nutrition programs. People’s biggest concern at the forum was the lack of access to fresh and affordable fruits and vegetables. They suggested a community garden as a solution.
The Terrebonne Parish Recreation Department provided land downtown for the Harmon Park Community Garden. The garden is a learning site for children and adults through field trips and on-site lessons. Crops from the garden are also donated to local food pantries. St.Francis Vegetable Garden, a local nonprofit organization, helps with the Greauxing a[KU-F1] t Home program. Through the program food-insecure persons can learn how to grow, cook, and preserve produce. A graduate of the program, who now has her own home garden, said:
“I grew up knowing nothing about gardening. I never really ate veggies unless they were canned, I didn’t want that for my children. I always wanted to learn how to garden. Since going my entire family has found a love for vegetables. We’ve all tried things we have never tried before. Eating things that you’ve worked hard to grow make you really appreciate food. We have learned so much about growing our own food.”
Since the garden started in September 2019:
- Twenty-five garden beds have been built
- An estimated 500 lbs of produce has been donated to local food pantries
- Eight adults and their children have graduated from the Greauxing at Home program
- $6,100 has been raised for the garden through 23 community sponsors
- Community investment in green spaces and beautification has increased to $6,600
- 500 pounds of produce was grown and given away to local food-insecure families within the first year
Together with local community leaders, the Live Healthy Houma coalition is increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and working toward a healthier Terrebonne Parish. Live Healthy Houma also plans to turn a nearby empty concrete slab into a basketball court so that kids and adults can be more physically active.
PARTNERS IN SUCCESS
The Greauxing at Home program is a joint effort between the LSU AgCenter and the St. Francis Vegetable Garden, a local nonprofit organization that assists with community gardens in the area. Live Healthy Houma also partnered with local businesses. Many donated garden tools and plants. Local organizations and clubs also sponsored each garden bed for a minimum of three years. Small plaques were created and placed at each garden bed to recognize the sponsor’s contribution.
SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework Indicators:
MT5: Nutrition Supports
ST7: Organizational Partnerships
ST8: Multi-Sector Partnerships and Planning
LT9: Leveraged Resources
Live Healthy Houma is part of the LSU AgCenter’s Healthy Communities initiative.
For more information:
Amanda Gibson, RD
Assistant nutrition agent, LSU AgCenter Lafourche Parish
email@example.com or (985) 446-1316