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Help create an edible community garden in the Magnolia North neighborhood

OLCDC Help create an edible community garden in the Magnolia North neighborhoodSubmitted by Ingrid Vega

The Magnolia North neighborhood, formerly known as “the triangle”, was sealed off in 1987 with metal barricades intended to isolate and mitigate high levels of crime and violence at that time. In order to address removal of those barricades, a large group came together for several days in a collaborative design process. Experts from across the country worked alongside partner organizations and dedicated OLCDC staff to redesign the once inaccessible intersections as inviting entryways to a revitalized residential and mixed-use neighborhood. They also envisioned the development of new public open spaces with environmentally functional landscape design, including a community garden.

A study of Opa-locka completed in Fall 2010 by War on Poverty Florida confirmed that access to healthy, high quality food is significantly lower in such a low-income community where the “convenience store culture” is more prevalent and there is a lack of accessibility to reliable modes of transportation. A combination of these and other factors contributes to higher rates of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases in neighborhood families. OLCDC recognizes this issue, and believes a community garden will provide an opportunity to increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables available for residents to incorporate into their much needed, healthier diet. The project could also help improve the nutrition education of community members, and teach them an assortment of valuable new skills related to growing food.

In order to meet the requirement of supplying food that is harvested from the garden to a feeding agency, OLCDC will partner with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #8195, which is located directly within Magnolia North. Their food distribution program has been operating for about three years, and on average serves 200 people per week. The population served includes a variety of citizens in need of sustenance whose income falls below the poverty level. Due to a lack of funds the VFW has cut back on how often it distributes food, so produce from the community garden would significantly help alleviate costs.

This June, you can make a difference and help the The Opa-locka Community Development Corp realize their dreams for an edible community garden as they are currently in the running for a $15,000 grant.

“We hope the garden becomes one of the favorite areas in our community,” said CEO Dr. Willie Logan. “The community garden will offer the opportunity to harvest fresh, locally grown produce and serve as a haven for relaxation, respite, and social gatherings. The act of creating a garden brings people together, which can in turn foster community organizing. We hope to win this grant.” This grant will allow the OLCDC to:

  • Create an edible community garden in the Magnolia North neighborhood (access to fresh and healthy food is very limited)
  • Improve the health of local residents
  • Teach residents new skills related to growing fruits and vegetables
  • Expand nutrition education

Between now and Saturday, June 30 2012 @ 3 p.m., the OLCDC needs your Facebook VOTE for its “Growing a Healthier Community in Opa-locka” entry.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Visit this link – http://ow.ly/bpcLx
2. Get logged into facebook (if you aren’t already)
3. If it’s your 1st time voting, accept the App terms (if you have previously voted, please skip this step)
4. Either look for “Growing a Healthier Community in Opa-locka” or revisit the link from before & you’ll be taken right to OLCDC’s entry
5. Click on the green VOTE button
6. Remember this is for $15,000 from Nature’s Path ‘Garden for Good’ program, & repeat above steps each day until June 30 2012 @ 3 p.m.

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