By supporting the Phipps Homegrown program, you are increasing community access to fresh produce, promoting better food choices, and improving the overall health of families and children in underserved Pittsburgh communities.
Currently, Homegrown installs raised-bed vegetable gardens at households in the Homewood neighborhood and provides mentorship and resources to help families keep their gardens growing. In 2017, Homegrown completed 74 installations, bringing its total to 210 – almost 1 in every 10 Homewood households – since the program launched in 2013.
“It’s all about sustainability and long-term impact,” says Lauren Delorenze, Homegrown’s community outreach coordinator.
In addition to creating green spaces in city neighborhoods, Homegrown works to hone beneficiaries’ skills and knowledge so that they can continue growing vegetables on their own into the future.
“Food gardening is not just about food access but also food security and self-reliance,” says Lauren. “In low-income food desert areas, there’s a need for more than just resources. Home gardens give participants the ability to provide for themselves, empowering them with knowledge and skills to grow their own food for years to come.”
Covering everything from weed management to culinary possibilities, monthly workshops and classes held at the YMCA allow gardeners to realize the full potential of the raised beds and offer opportunities for neighbors to connect. Educational opportunities recently expanded with two new cooking classes presented in partnership with Community Kitchen.
In September 2017, the program’s first-ever Homewood Good Food Festival united Homewood’s restaurants and caterers with local families to celebrate food grown and prepared in the neighborhood.
The program looks to expand into other neighborhoods that are challenged by food insecurity and its debilitating impacts on health and community building.