‘Community Roots’ to plant new garden

XENIA — A new coalition known as “Community Roots” will establish a new community garden in Xenia’s East End neighborhood, with the goals of building community, improving health and strengthening food security.

Community Roots will host a planting day 9-11 a.m. Saturday, April 28 at a new community garden in Lexington Park, 1067 Lexington Avenue. The event is open to the community. A rain date is set for 4-6 p.m. Friday, May 4.

The Community Roots coalition is comprised of Greene County Public Health, the City of Xenia, Central State University Extension, and Ohio State University Extension Greene County.

A critical barrier to healthy lifestyles in parts of Xenia and other communities is food insecurity. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. According to an article from the Journal of Nutrition, most adults living in food-insecure households report being unable to afford balanced meals, worrying about the adequacy of their food supply, running out of food, and cutting the size of meals or skipping meals. Studies show that food insecurities can also lead to adverse health effects for both adults and children, including chronic illness, along with developmental and mental health problems.

The Lexington Park community garden is Community Roots’ first project. Unlike Xenia’s existing garden in West Side Park that provides independent plots for a fee, this new garden will provide shared, communal gardening space along with an educational series for those interested in learning about gardening, nutrition, and sustainability. The garden and associated programming are intended to increase nutritional awareness, promote gardening as a means of affordably accessing healthy foods, encourage community engagement and aid the revitalization of Lexington Park.

Garden participants can attend events to help plant and maintain the communal garden, or simply to watch and learn so they are better equipped to start their own gardens.

This project has been made possible through the support of the following organizations and efforts:

– The project received grant funding through the Ohio Department of Health and Greene County Public Health.

– Third grade students at Shawnee Elementary School are the first participants in the community garden. They are working hard to sow all the seeds that will be planted in the community garden.

– Kroger donated fresh produce that was distributed to the community by members of the Community Roots coalition when they went out to invite members of the neighborhood surrounding Lexington Park.

– A & L Water Services and Sanitation provided Community Roots with services for the planting day event.

– Greene County Parks & Trails and Greene County Environmental Services provided leaf compost and support for the new garden.

– Lowe’s in Xenia will provide support for the new garden.

For more information on the new Community Roots coalition, or the new community garden at Lexington Park, contact Jillian Drew at 937-374-5683 or email her at [email protected]