Nutrition Network promotes fresh produce and local exchange
Ellen Huntley
September 2000

Do you believe that healthy agriculture is a cornerstone for sustainable communities? Neighborhood Nutrition Network (NNN) does and works to involved the community in supporting agriculture and producing health food for a healthier community. NNN was started in 1997 to address the great need to cooperate with each other to address food and hunger issues in Alachua County. We live in a county where more than 49% of public school children receive free or reduced lunches. Only one in ten teenagers who live on the East side of 13th St. in gainesville eat the USDA recommended amount of fresh vegetables a day. At the same time Alachua County farmers, like those nationally, need more direct markets for their produce in order to survive economically. Our community's needs are real.

At the same time, our community's assets are real too. Each year more schools are starting to work with NNN, Cooperative Extension and other avid garden experts to start gardens in their schools. Youth are cooperating to garden and to learn about nutrition in 15 NNN-sponsored gardens. Thanks to cooperation of many farmers, Alachua County residents have five weekly opportunities to purchase locally-grown produce at a farmer's market during the county's growing seasons. There are many ways that you can contribute to the food system.

If you are interested in being involved with NNN's mission to increase access to fresh food and promote understanding of our food systems, please contact us at 352-377-6345 or . You may want to help garden, glean produce from local farms, preserve and sell value-added produce, build a fence, haul manure, donate garden supplies and even contribute financially.

We are holding bi-annual Garden and Nutrition Workshop on September 14 and 15, 2000 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Community Center, 1100 NE 14th St. This is a free workshop that we are co-sponsoring with the City of Gainesville Recreation and Parks Department and UF's Cooperative Extension Service Master Gardener Program. Please register by Sept. 11, 2000 as space is limited. The sessions focus on organic gardening and nutrition information. People who want to volunteer in our school garden and community garden projects are encouraged to attend the workshop to meet each other and learn of ways to teach others about gardening. Call us at 352-377-6345 or email to register.

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