A teen-led inner-city gardening program to increase access to and demand for affordable fresh produce in an African-American and Latino community

The predominantly African-American and Latino low-income residents of East Durham, North Carolina, suffer disproportionately from obesity and malnourishment caused in part by the limited availability of fresh foods, produce, and nutrition education. Addressing this problem requires improving community-wide access to healthy, affordable, and appealing foods, and working to create demand for them. South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces (SEEDS), through its Durham Inner-City Gardeners (DIG) program, teaches healthy eating and nutrition to East Durham children, teens, and families through hands-on participation in growing, cultivating, harvesting, and selling fresh produce at the Durham Farmers Market in Durham Central Park. This project will expand the DIG program in several ways: (1) increasing the number of teens enrolled in the DIG program; (2) creating a mid-week neighborhood mini-market with a pick your own fruit component to make fresh produce more immediately available to underserved teens and families; and (3) widening efforts to create demand for DIG-grown produce through greater publicity, neighborhood events that teach healthy food preparation methods, and middle and high school taste tests of DIG-grown produce. The project represents an innovative, replicable teen-led strategy for improving access to healthy, affordable foods among target populations. A linked Foundation evaluation will assess resident reactions to DIG program offerings and assess the degree to which teen participants and residents change their eating and cooking patterns and their attitudes and preferences regarding fresh produce. Results also will be used to improve DIG program offerings and to help expand local funding. Project deliverables include evidence of each of the expansions noted above plus findings of their impact.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $57,000.00

Awarded on: 8/12/2005

Time frame: 8/15/2005 - 8/14/2006

Grant Number: 52851


Southeastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces Inc.

706 Gilbert Street
Durham, 27701-3508


Lucy Harris
Project Director