Urban Garden Approach to Reduce Disease and Empower Neighborhoods and Schools
The UGARDENS project began in 2007 with three community and school garden sites and has grown to 32 with tremendous community involvement and interest. By increasing the number of community and school gardens in Pueblo County, strengthening partnerships with neighborhoods and schools, and guiding schools to make sustainable nutrition policy changes, the Health Department expects to see positive health behavior changes among more than 4,000 individuals.
Benefits of Community Gardens
• Improves the quality of life for people in the garden
• Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
• Stimulates social interaction
• Encourages self-reliance
• Beautifies neighborhoods and preserves green space
• Produces nutritious food
• Reduces family food expenses
• Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
• Provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections
Poverty, lack of general health education, and poor nutrition greatly impact the quality of life for Pueblo residents, particularly Pueblo youth. Child health statistics from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicate that the number of overweight and obese children and adolescents in Pueblo County has risen over the past decade from 9.7 percent in 2005 to 32.8 percent in 2011. The UGARDENS project recognizes the need to prevent obesity and improve lifestyle choices of Pueblo’s youth and families through community endeavors such as gardening activities, as well as nutrition and physical activity curricula.
Milestones to Achieve
The UGARDENS project involves four phases: planning, implementing, expanding, and creating sustainability. The planning phase assesses the readiness of schools and community gardens by using a pre and post survey. The survey gathers information regarding knowledge of food and its relationship to health.
The project works with participating schools to incorporate nutrition and physical activity education curriculum along with gardening and agriculture activities. The intention will be to increase access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables, boost physical activity, and improve healthy lifestyle knowledge and behavior in youth and their families.
The project has provided mini-grants opportunities to schools and community applicants. Awards have ranged up to $5,000 during the three year grant period with the number of community and school gardens in Pueblo County growing from three to 32.
The project also works with participating schools and neighborhoods to ensure that students, parents, teachers, and community members maintain the gardens during the summer months when the growing season is at its height.
Gardens in Pueblo County
- AGAPE Fellowship Church
- Avondale Boys and Girls Club
- Bessemer Academy
- Bethany Lutheran Church
- Beulah School
- Central High School
- Community Residential and Respite
- Craver Middle School
- Daystar Christina School
- East High School
- Eastwood Heights
- El Centro del Quinto Sol Recreation Center
- Freed Middle School
- Goodnight Community Garden
- Highland Park Elementary
- La Familia Community Garden
- Life Care Center
- Luv in Action
- Mennonite Church
- Milagro Christian Church
- Pitts Middle School
- Pueblo County High School
- Pueblo School for Arts and Science
- Pueblo West Elementary
- Risley Middle School
- Rye High School
- Sangre de Cristo Volunteers for Change
- Soap Box Derby
- St. John Neumann School
- Vineland Elementary School
- Washington Children’s Center
For more information please contact Christina Hopewell, UGARDENS Coordinator at 719-583-4481 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The UGARDENS Project is funded by the Colorado Health Foundation.