Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tri-County Health Department Awards Grant Funding to Adams County for Community Garden Renovation Project at Head Start Facility

The Adams County Parks & Community Resources Department received a $81,051 grant from the Tri-County Health Department to renovate a community garden area adjacent to the Adams County Head Start Sunshine Center, located at 7111 E. 56th Ave. in Commerce City. The goal of the renovation project is to increase access to fresh, healthy foods for families with children enrolled in the Head Start program. Grant funds will also be used to facilitate gardening by Head Start staff, children, parents and community volunteers.

“Children in the Head Start program are at an age in which they are developing habits and practices that will shape the rest of their lives,” said Commissioner Alice J. Nichol. “This garden be a great benefit to them as they learn to make healthy choices.”

Funding awarded to Adams County is part of $3 million in grants issued from the Tri-County Health Department to local governments and school districts across Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties to support policy, systems and environmental change to promote healthy eating and active living. These funds are part of the $10.5 million, two-year grant that Tri-County received as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative (CPPW), which is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Renovations to the community garden site will be completed by the Adams County Parks Department, Denver Urban Gardens and community volunteers. Site renovations will include the construction of two new sheds, new fencing, irrigation system upgrades and development of crusher fine walkways and garden plots. All renovations are scheduled for completion by April 2011 with garden prep work and planting scheduled to occur in early May.

Once construction on the site is complete, children, parents, teachers and community volunteers will help plant crops in the garden. Crops that will be planted include pumpkin, squash, peppers, carrots, raspberries, strawberries and herbs. Families will be able to take garden-fresh fruits and vegetables home. Fruits and vegetables harvested from the garden will also be used in school lunches and donated to the food bank located in the same building.

Members of the community are encouraged to get involved with this project. Volunteers will assist project leaders with tasks ranging from assisting in the creation of crusher fine walkways to painting sheds to helping to engage children in garden-related tasks. A volunteer meeting will be held on Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Adams County Head Start Sunshine Center. All interested individuals are invited to attend. Please note that all volunteers must pass a Criminal Background Check before becoming official volunteers with the project. For more information, please contact Adrienne Dorsey, sustainability coordinator, at 303.654.6287 (before Jan. 7, 2011) or 720.523.6287 (after Jan. 7, 2011) or via email at adorsey@adcogov.org.

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