By Melissa Roberts
February 9, 2012 (Santee) -- Lack of access to healthy, fresh foods has contributed to the rise in obesity rates in Americans. One way to address this concern is by increasing the availability of gardens accessible to the community. An initiative under way is assisting communities to build gardens that can be sustained for many seasons is Healthy Works.As part of Healthy Works, a volunteer garden is currently being established at Edgemoor Hospital in Santee (655 Park Center Drive) which can be utilized by both local residents and Edgemoor staff.
Healthy Works is a countywide initiative making systems and environmental changes promoting wellness and addressing the nationwide obesity epidemic. Healthy Works, administered by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and includes the University of California San Diego, SANDAG, San Diego County Office of Education, Community Health Improvement Partners, and San Diego State University, along with numerous community-based partners. The project is part of the County’s “Live Well, San Diego! Building Better Health” initiative, a 10-year vision for healthy communities.
Gardening provides many benefits, including increased mental, physical and emotional health, as well as increased access to fresh, organic produce. Growing one’s own produce will decrease reliance on grocery store visits for fresh fruits and vegetables, making healthier eating more convenient. For more information or to participate in the garden, please contact Stacy Wells, firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-987-8302.
Melissa Roberts is a Community Health Promotion Specialist with the San Diego County’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work.