On October 26, 2016, the Community Health Advocate (CHA) led community garden project in the Ridge Manor Apartment homes held a blessing ceremony to launch the project. Attendees also planted the first seeds and plants in the new garden. Developed by CHAs Frewin Osteen and Judy Johnson, the project focuses on three objectives:
- Improve healthful food consumption by providing opportunities for homegrown fresh fruits and vegetables
- Promote intergenerational activities in which participants from diverse age groups, races, and cultures can cultivate new experiences
- Promote both physical and mental health through: healthful food production, physical movement, urban ecosystem, intergenerational and intercultural opportunities, and horticultural therapy.
To be truly community based, the project leader and partners reached out to Ridge
Manor residents to form a gardening committee and developed relationships with local schools, government, business, and churches to build a broad coalition of support for the project. Community partners include:
- Prichard Housing Authority
- Councilwoman Ossia Edwards, representing District 5 of the City of Prichard
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System
- Dixon Total Touch Child Development Center
- Greg Mosley Painting and Drywall and Construction Company
- Prichard Area Chamber of Commerce
- Alabama Power Company, Prichard Business Office
- Mobile Gas Company
- Regions Bank, Prichard Branch
- Prichard Preparatory School Student Government Association and National Honor Society
Activities related to the community garden include:
- The construction of raised beds and boxes to allow those with disabilities and older adults to participate. Up to 20 families living in Ridge Manor will have a garden plot.
- Instruction on best practices of gardening and plant care for all participants
- Weekly opportunities for interaction for gardeners, community partners, and participating youth to discuss progress.
- Healthy food preparation demonstrations
The community garden is a CHA led project with support from the Center for Healthy Communities.