February 26, 2012
By Ronica Shannon
Two local organizations are making sure Madison County’s Hispanic families have the opportunity to find healthy food options in their own backyard.
The “Planting Seeds of Hope” garden project will begin in March, and interested families now are being asked to join in the effort.
The project is a united effort between The Mujeres Unidas Hispanic Outreach Program and Grow Appalachia, a part of the Berea College Appalachia Fund.
“Nutrition-related health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, are widespread in all segments of the American population, with Kentucky residents having some of the highest rates of these afflictions in the country,” said David Cooke, director of Grow Appalachia and the Berea College Appalachia Fund.
“The goal of Grow Appalachia is not only to address these issues at their root causes, but also to help participating families develop entrepreneurial attitudes and skills in order to generate economic development from their gardens. Hispanic women want what women worldwide want — safe, nutritious, fresh food to feed their families and put up in their pantries for the cold months.”
The gardens will be at St. Thomas Lutheran Church on Barnes Mill Road in Richmond, as well as at homes of several participating families.
The garden project “will introduce locally grown fruits and vegetables that may be unfamiliar to Hispanic women who are not native to Kentucky,” said Sandra Anez-Powell, director of the Hispanic Outreach Program of the Kentucky River Foothills Development Council.
The program also will support the production of herbs that are common in Hispanic/Latin cuisine, but are not found in central Kentucky markets.
“In addition to supporting participants in growing their own food, this project will promote basic nutrition aimed at addressing health disparities commonly experienced by Hispanic women,” Powell said.
According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control, Hispanic women are twice more likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic white women, Powell said. They also have higher rates of increased blood pressure and obesity with 40 percent of Hispanic women being obese as compared with 30 percent of non-Hispanic white women.
The National Vital Statistics Systems report that heart disease is the leading cause of death in Hispanics.
Also, a CDC study found that more than half of Hispanic women living in Kentucky reported that they suffered from severe depression.
“The project will increase the availability of affordable, high-quality, fresh produce including fruits and vegetables that can be used for family meals as well as provide a source of supplemental income derived from selling surplus foods or products made from them like jams and jellies,” Powell said. “It is very thrilling to know that there are so many different ways to make a positive impact on our community, and this way we will see the outcome of our efforts.”
Source: The Richmond Register