Bringing the farm to the city: Nutrition, entrepreneurship and community form roots of program

07/02/2014 02:39 PM

LOUISVILLE — An approach as simple as a community garden tended by children can help encourage healthier eating, better health and entrepreneurship.

That was the message Wednesday from city and state leaders as they opened a garden at the Parkland Boys and Girls Club in west Louisville.

Louisville Councilwoman Attica Scott said the children from the west Louisville neighborhood can use the garden to grow more than just fruits and vegetables.

Scott and fellow Democrat, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, joined Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer for the announcement, as well as sponsor companies such as Anthem. Part of the funding for the project came from leftover equipment and items improperly purchased by former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer. Comer auctioned off those items.

The children at the Boys and Girls Club who will be tending the garden already have interest from area restaurants to buy the fruits of their labors to serve in meals.

Perhaps more important than fostering the sense of entrepreneurship will be getting young Kentuckians more accustomed to eating fresh produce, said Comer, who added that this project in Louisville follows the Franklin-Simpson Boys and Girls Club in southern Kentucky. Four other similar projects are expected to crop up elsewhere in the state.

Nutrition remains a key issue in Kentucky, where the obesity rate for children has gone down in the last 10 years but is still above the national average.

Earlier this summer, U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, complained in a congressional hearing about school lunches that are an outgrowth of the White House’s program aimed at healthier school lunches. Rogers said students in his district don’t like how the lunches taste and are throwing them out.

Comer said part of the problem is that students aren’t used to incorporating fresh foods into their meals. But he said a bigger part is that local school’s food directors don’t have enough flexibility.


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