Little Green Fingers, Will Connect Young Kids to Healthy Food Sources
The Community Development Commission of the County of Los Angeles (CDC) joined Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust on September 28 to celebrate the grand opening of Little Green Fingers, a children’s community garden initiative. The garden is the first of eight to be created over the next two years that will focus on increasing healthy food alternatives for residents of the surrounding communities.
To help address the obesity epidemic in the area, First 5 LA awarded a five-year grant to the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to create Little Green Fingers for children, ages 0-5 and their families. The garden features 30 raised plots, which will provide a minimum of 6,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year, feature age-appropriate amenities and programs to make cultivation of the crops enjoyable and educational for children, as well as ongoing cooking and nutrition classes for families. In April 2013, community members began planting corn, pumpkins, bell peppers, tomatoes, collard greens, flowers, apples, oranges, and avocados to start the garden’s crops. Their initial plantings have flourished, and the garden is filling in with lush offerings.
Originally owned by the CDC, the site was transferred to the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust for development of the garden. The CDC has had a major presence in improving the surrounding area. It has funded two low-income senior housing developments located across the street from the children’s garden, Encanto Court and Hale Morris Lews Manor, and is currently providing nearly $5.8 million in HOME Investment Partnership funds to develop the Terracina Apartments at Imperial and Budlong, which are expected to be completed in 2014.
Sean Rogan, CDC executive director said, “For years, the CDC has invested significantly in the Athens Westmont community by creating affordable housing for families and seniors. Through our partnership with the Little Green Fingers project, we are proud to help dedicate a space that focuses on local children, and helps them, and their families, start leading healthy lives through their food choices.”
The Little Green Fingers team of experts includes First 5 LA, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Loma Linda School of Public Health, University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Program and The Better World Group.