Community Garden & Kitchen
This combination Community Garden / Kitchen project is moving into its third year and serves a group of local individuals whose lives have been impacted by a chronic mental health condition such as schizophrenia or bi-polar illness.
This population is known to suffer from food insecurity issues due to financial constraints, limited knowledge around making healthy food choices, lack of skills around growing and cooking food, and poor access due to transportation issues.
Research indicates that individuals suffering from chronic mental illness are at high risk of developing serious physical health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, leading to significant risk of early death.
Fortunately, research also demonstrates that projects such as ours have a positive impact not only on physical health but also mental health directly related to education and opportunity for developing social networks of support.
Our first year started with developing the Community Kitchen aspect with a group of individuals meeting to talk about nutrition, plan meals and cook, with food going home to share with their families. Together we also planted a small garden in the community and enjoyed the experience of planting, caring for, and harvesting some delicious food to be shared.
In the second year we took advantage of a couple of great offers.
A local community addictions recovery program for men offered us a much larger plot and with that partnered with us to help with some of the physical work.
And a donation of money from a local gardening group allowed us to build and establish three 4x8 foot garden boxes. Again we planned meals around our harvest, cooked and shared this with the families of those in the program.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA