Planting Seeds for Better Health
Our Morningside Park Urban Farm in southeast Roanoke went from vision to reality in 2018, with a fruitful harvest of potatoes, basil, squash, melons and tomatoes for the neighborhood to share.
Besides providing fresh produce in a neighborhood considered a “food desert,” the farm is also a source of education on topics such as composting, harvesting, storing and weeding, so residents can learn more about growing their own food.
The farm was developed in response to findings from a recent health-needs assessment that pointed to the neighborhood’s need to improve eating habits and relationships among residents. It was funded by the Carilion Clinic Foundation and is managed by the Roanoke Community Garden Association.
Our new urban farm forms the centerpiece of a holistic strategy that focuses a broad range of resources in a single neighborhood to move the needle on residents’ health.
Other programming to help southeast Roanoke residents improve their health through better nutrition included:
- Fresh Foods Prescription Program for overweight and obese adults that includes weekly health education classes. In addition, patients receive cash vouchers to buy fresh food at their physician practices’ weekly mobile markets.
- Community Health Workers conduct in-person assessments for uninsured patients to help them overcome barriers to good health.
- SNAP card benefits double every dollar spent at area farmer’s markets and LEAP mobile markets.