Community garden growing for local schools - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Community garden growing for local schools

Community garden growing for local schools

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By: Chelsea Priest

Strawberries, onions, corn, all growing at the Manton Bend Community Garden. Margaret DeVos, executive director of the Southside Community Land Trust explains, "A lot of neighborhoods don't have enough access to fresh, healthy, affordable food."

The trust has a network of 46 gardens in Providence. The one on Manton Avenue is also part of the Providence gardening program, "Lots of Hope" which gives new life to abandoned lots. DeVos goes on, "everybody gets their plot, they come in, they grow whatever they want. We work with the families so that people understand just how successful they can be in a 5 x 12 plot."

The next garden part of the Lots of Hope program will be expanding into Providence schools. Thanks to a $150,000 grant, a new greenhouse will be built and the food grown there will be served in local cafeterias. 

Peter Asen is the Director of the Healthy Communities department for the city of Providence. He explains, "for the first time this year with the Providence contract, we are requiring a certain amount of the food used in the contract to be locally grown." 

The new site will also be a new learning experience for local kids. Asen goes on, "We're also working with the school district and with outside garden educators about trying to develop some educational opportunities for students at this greenhouse. 

DeVos added, "it's a reason for kids to eat healthy, because they grew it themselves."

The site for the new garden and greenhouse is still under review but will hopefully be near the central kitchen for the school department. Everything is expected to be up and growing by next spring.

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