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Community Garden as part of revamping community's health

  • Subject: [cg] Community Garden as part of revamping community's health
  • From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse@one.net
  • Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 07:58:11 -0500

Pilot Program Fosters Fitness in Three Delta Communities

ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Jim Core, (301) 504-1619, jcore@ars.usda.gov
March 7, 2006
--View this report online, plus any included photos or other images, at

To improve the nutrition and health of residents in three rural communities
in the South, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is partnering in a
pilot program with six universities, state cooperative extension services
and other organizations.

Obesity, heart disease, stroke and cancer disproportionately affect people
living in Mississippi Delta states. Researchers working on the Lower
Mississippi Delta Nutrition Intervention Research Initiative (NIRI) in
Little Rock, Ark., are studying the population's dietary habits, which are
generally less healthy than the national average.

As locations for the intervention pilot program, NIRI partners selected
Marvell, Ark., and its surrounding public school district; Franklin Parish
in Louisiana; and the city of Hollandale, Miss. The community-based
participatory research model is being used as the framework for carrying out
the Delta NIRI mission, according to Beverly McCabe-Sellers, a nutrition
scientist and NIRI's research coordinator.

In Marvell, NIRI initiated a walking club so residents can offer each other
support. Health professionals are invited to give participants health,
nutrition and physical fitness advice. The city also received a grant to
create a farmers' market. Last summer, three community gardens were started
there to provide residents nutritious fruit and vegetables.

In Franklin Parish, local NIRI coordinators are expanding a weekly truck
delivery, or "rolling store," of fresh produce and are distributing healthy
recipes to participants. They hope to join forces with a local grocery store
to stock fresh produce for residents holding special vouchers.

In Hollandale, an advanced walking club was formed, with community leaders
certified as instructors. Local coordinators worked with NIRI to install a
walking trail, basketball court and soccer field in a city park.

According to Margaret L. Bogle, a nutritionist and Delta NIRI's executive
director, scientists and communities are analyzing the intervention research
and determining how to expand these programs into other Delta communities.

Read more about the research in the March issue of Agricultural Research
magazine, available online at:

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research

* This is one of the news reports that ARS Information distributes to
subscribers on weekdays.
* Start, stop or change an e-mail subscription at
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