Accelerating food access with AHA Teaching Gardens
Food Forward works with many amazing organizations working to fight food insecurity in our communities. We’d like to highlight one of these organizations, the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens program, and tell you a bit about our partnership.
Based at structurally under-resourced schools throughout the U.S., Teaching Gardens assists families in accessing fresh produce. Teaching Gardens provides schools with the tools to grow fresh fruits and veggies in campus gardens, and encourages students to select their own seeds to meet their unique interests and tastes. The program aims to create “real-life learning laboratories for students to learn what it means to be healthy.” There are over 50 teaching gardens in schools across the country that are connecting students to fresh produce and garden education.
Here in Los Angeles, the Teaching Gardens Program provides community members with fresh produce at free farmers markets throughout South and East LA, rescued by Food Forward’s Wholesale Recovery Program. AHA envisions a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, and knows that a healthy, fresh, and colorful diet is important for heart health.
According to Matthew Gallimore, Community Impact Director for School Systems, AHA’s partnership with Food Forward has “accelerated our food access work by offering monthly produce giveaways at our local schools and parks. When we first started offering produce giveaways at our schools, we were only able to offer it once every 2 months due to the time it took for crops to grow. Now, we are offering it twice a month in over 5 schools and 2 parks throughout South and East LA to help address the needs of the community.”
We hope you enjoyed learning about our partnership with AHA Teaching Gardens and the amazing work they are doing to connect students to healthy foods!