A Healthy Garden

July 8, 2011
By

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s (EBNHC) Let’s Get Movin’ community garden planted back in May has sprung to life in recent weeks.

EBNHC leased a small parcel of land at Paul’s Airport Parking on Bremen Street and transformed the land into the garden Let’s Get Movin’ Program.

In May hundreds of volunteers that take part in the Let’s Get Movin’ program that encourages healthier lifestyles for kids and families turned out to plant vegetables and herbs at the garden.

Each plot at the garden has been assigned to each family and throughout the summer families will be able to toil in their plots and grow fresh fruits and herbs to be used in home cooking recipes.

“In the past few years, food access has become a bigger and bigger component of  Let’s Get Movin’,” said EBNHC President Jack Cradock. “We coordinate a farmers market in East Boston and also run a low-cost Community Supported Agriculture program for Let’s Get Movin’  families through a partnership with World PEAS (People Enhancing Agricultural Sustainability).”

Cradock explained that the newest leg of the food access programming is this garden on Bremen Street.

“There are 31 participating families, each of which have their own plot or share with another family, and all are patients at EBNHC,” said Cradock. “The grand majority of the families have also participated in Let’s Get Movin’ programming over the years.

Over the past two months the garden has grown to be a vibrant community hub where families gather to water, plant, harvest, and share gardening advice with one another.

“It is a truly multicultural garden, with families from all over Central and South America and North Africa, in addition to families who have lived in East Boston for generations,” said Cradock. In this way, the garden truly represents the makeup of the neighborhood.”

The garden also functions as an outdoor classroom for Let’s Get Movin’ participants. Let’s Get Movin’  children and teens take part in hands-on nutrition education classes that connect them to where their food comes from.

EBNHC’s Let’s Get Movin’ is a lifestyle-change program for children and teens that promotes physical activity, teaches proper nutrition, and helps young people make healthier lifestyle choices.

The program runs after-school and summer programs, field trips, community events, and cooking classes and educational seminars for adults who want to learn more about supporting their children’s healthier lifestyles. Participants of the program reside in the communities of East Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop, and Revere.

Participation in the Let’s Get Movin’ program is based on a diagnosis of overweight or obesity by a child’s physician, who monitors progress and overall health on an ongoing basis. Through intervention, the program seeks to reduce the incidence of obesity-related diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

The program’s after-school programs at neighborhood schools and community locations offer fun and structured physical activities for children ages 8-14. Kids participate in games and sports such as soccer, basketball, dodge ball, ultimate Frisbee, swimming, rock climbing, dance, and kick-boxing as well as receive lessons on nutrition, the environment, and how to become more healthy.

Lets Get Movin’s educational approach centers on teaching families the essentials of nutrition in a way that is fun and culturally relevant by offering cooking classes and parent seminars.

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