Prepare, Cultivate. Nurture. Grow. Each of these words could refer to tending a garden, or encouraging healthy habits in kids. In inner-city Akron, Eden’s Blessing is a group doing both.
In 2013, Aundrey and Johnathan met as participants in the Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County – a joint program of United Way and the Akron Area YMCA designed to train local residents to promote positive change in their neighborhoods.
They worked together to transform two once-derelict lots each into an urban oasis for kids. Garden improvements were made possible through local business offers of plants, tools, materials and manpower. Throughout the growing season neighborhood kids, children attending the YMCA’s summer day camp and high-risk students from the Phoenix school tend to the gardens and the fruits and vegetables planted there.
One of the primary pathways to health is through good nutrition. Children who live in low-income communities are disproportionately overweight, a condition that can lead to adult heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Eden’s Blessing gardens directly target these issues by creating places where kids can learn how to plant, grow, harvest, prepare and love healthy food.