The LIFE program is an ongoing part of Greensgrow’s nonprofit Greensgrow Philadelphia Project which brings green ideas to fruition. LIFE was launched in 2010 to improve access to affordable, local food for dozens of members of our community and has been successfully been running for an additional two seasons. We look forward to launching for our fourth LIFE Program this coming season! This year we are introducing our “SNAP box,” which will provide participating families with 5-8 produce items weekly that they pay for using their SNAP benefits. Click here for updated information on the 2013 season’s pickup location places and times.
The need for eating more fruits and vegetables is very real in our community. Obesity and health complications resulting from nutrient-deficient diets are on the rise, particularly in low-income neighborhoods like Kensington. Scientific research overwhelmingly supports the same conclusion: Americans need to change the way they eat. Even our newest USDA government guidelines, My Plate, encourage us all to make half of our plate fruits and vegetables.
Greensgrow’s area comprises part of the 1st Congressional District, among the poorest in the nation according to recent census data. Hunger, food insecurity, malnutrition and obesity are part of everyday life for too many, despite proximity to one of the most prolific farming regions in the world. We aim to break down the barriers – financial, logistical, and educational – that contribute to the deteriorating health of our communities. The work that must be done is two-fold: we must first ensure that all communities, regardless of income levels, have access to fresh foods and learn to prepare energizing meals. Secondly, we must work to support local farming to keep it alive and viable.
Every $1 spent through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) generates $1.73 in local economic activity, according to the Philadelphia Greater Coalition Against Hunger. Supporting local food systems keeps money within our local economy while also helping create a demand that drives even more local food production each year. Buying local is voting local! Local food also cuts down on our carbon footprint, reducing transport needed to deliver food to its retail location. It’s fresher and more nutritious. Local food is often picked or harvested the same day you buy it, unlike conventional produce that might sit in storage for weeks, compromising its nutritional integrity. Don’t compromise—eat local!