Understanding how Food Insecurity affects every resident of our community, regardless of age, income and health condition, is the reason we started the Ashland Community Garden in 2015. With one acre of land donated by the City of Ashland, and a grant from the Coosa Valley RC&D, we were able to install a fresh water well for irrigation, an eight hundred square foot grow house and fifteen hundred feet of traditional and plastic covered rows to grow on. We have container gardens of all shapes and sizes for our residents to create their own personal garden to grow their food. Residents are excited and have already started planting, and community volunteers are busy seeding and weeding in preparation for the spring growing season.
We have recently applied for a Teaching Garden grant with the American Heart Association and Bonnie Plants that will provide a teaching curriculum for children wanting to learn how to garden, as well as all the tools, plants and dirt to get our garden growing! Not only will the garden provide us healthy food to eat it is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy some light physical activity with friends and neighbors. We want to express a special “Thank You” to all the local residents, businesses and government agencies that have donated their time, resources and expertise to make our community garden a reality. Remember to bring a plant, seeds, flowers or tools when you visit, your donations are welcome and greatly appreciated! The Ashland Community Garden is located at 105 King Avenue in Ashland, come by and see us, we are open Monday thru Thursday 4:00pm until sunset and Saturday from 8am until noon.
USDA Summer Food Service Program
In 2011, it was reported that 874 children living in Clay County were below the Federal Poverty Level, and eighty-one of those children live in the public housing community managed by the AHDC. Children need healthy food all year long. During the school year, many children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch through the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs. When school lets out many of these children are at risk of hunger, which is one of the most severe roadblocks to the growing and learning process for children.
For children, a lack of nutrition and physical activity during the summer months may set up a cycle for poor performance once school begins again, and malnutrition can make children more prone to illness and other health issues. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is designed to fill that nutrition gap and make sure every child gets the nutritious meals they need this summer. We will also have planned and organized physical activities and events, literacy programs, arts and crafts, talent shows, and much more.
The SFSP is a federally-funded, state-administered program that reimburses the AHDC to serve healthy meals to children and teens in low-income areas, at no cost to them. This service is offered primarily during the summer months when school is not in session, and serves children under the age 18 a hot nutritious meal in a safe place. The AHDC will be partnering with Clay Central High School to set up a student advisory panel to recommend menus and activities for the summer program. There is no sign-up, any child that shows up gets a meal. Location and lunch times: TBA