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Delta Health Alliance and City of Indianola: Working Together to Bring Fresh Food to the Community

Posted on: February 1, 2012

(Stoneville, MS) – Delta Health Alliance is partnering with the City of Indianola for an initiative that will provide residents with year-round fresh produce through a city-wide community garden. Groundbreaking activities for the Indianola Community Garden will be held on February 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the garden’s location between Jefferson and Oak Streets (next to Carver Elementary School).  The community is invited and is encouraged to attend as community members are the key players in the success of the garden.

Community gardens are vitally important to areas like the Delta where affordable fresh fruits and vegetables are scare and chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and hypertension are abundant. This garden initiative will not only provide Indianola residents will fresh produce year round, but an opportunity to get healthier by eating nutritious foods. “ With help from master gardeners and ongoing technical assistance from DHA staff, the community will be enjoying peas, butter beans, okra, and other summer crops in just a few months,” states Ryan Betz, Project Manager for Delta Health Alliance’s 21st Century Community Gardens project.  Betz has been instrumental in gardening efforts in Indianola through another DHA project, Church Garden Project, working with St. James Missionary Baptist and Endtime Encounter churches from 2009 to 2010, as well as over 35 locations throughout the Delta.  Betz’s work with St. James Missionary Baptist were highlighted in the September 2011 issue of Southern Living.

The Indianola Community Garden is a partnership between the City of Leland, the Indianola Community Garden Committee, and the Delta Health Alliance’s 21st Century Project partnership with the Good Samaritan Health Center in Indianola to provide primary care for the uninsured.

The 21st Century Community Garden Project seeks to support the development of sustainable community gardens to encourage increased access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetable, and increased physical activity for clinic patients and other community residents. Local organizations involved with the planning of the Indianola Community Garden besides DHA and the City of Indianola are: Good Samaritan Clinic of South Sunflower County Hospital, DHA’s Indianola Promise Community, City of Leland, Sunflower Baptist Association, Indianola Main Street, Indianola’s Farmer Market, Carver Upper Elementary, Indianola Career and Technology Center – Construction Technology Program, Mississippi State University Extension 4-H and Master Gardner Program, Mississippi Delta Community College, Beaverdam Farms, Delta Fresh Foods, Mississippi Center for Justice, and the B.B. King Museum.

Delta Health Alliance gratefully acknowledges financial support for this work from the Office of Rural Health Policy (HRSA) and the Office of Preventive Health of the Mississippi Department of Health. To find out more information about community gardens or other DHA projects, visit the DHA website www.deltahealthalliance.org or call (662) 686-7004.