Shout out to the Med School Watercooler from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine for highlighting the work of Community Health Advocates:
Frewin Osteen and Judy Johnson, community health advocates (CHAs) for the University of South Alabama Center for Healthy Communities (CHC), are the creators of a community garden at Ridge Manor Apartments located in Whistler, Ala.
CHAs assist their communities by bringing awareness and education to specific health issues. They are volunteers who work with the USA Center for Healthy Communities to support the fight against health disparity and promote a healthy lifestyle to those in need.
Osteen, a social worker in Prichard, Ala., and Johnson, a resident of Ridge Manor, wanted to give the elderly and disabled population a chance to participate in a community garden. “Improving the health and well-being of local residents was one of the aims when building the community garden,” Osteen said. “Gardening was something many of the residents expressed an interest in, but they simply did not have access to any of the tools or space to do so.”
Ten raised garden beds were built with the help of residents and volunteers in the community. “The gardens get residents doing something they enjoy, and as a result they are becoming more active,” Osteen said. “The gardens are just the right size as to not overwhelm the residents participating.”
After applying with the garden committee and signing a contract stating that they will respect and maintain their assigned space, residents who work in the garden are each assigned a bed of their own.
Osteen hopes that by growing and learning about vegetables in their gardens, residents will also learn the importance of nutrition and consume healthier foods. “If we show residents how to grow vegetables, plus how to prepare and eat them, then I think we benefit the community and their health,” Osteen said.
Read the full article.