communitygarden

The one-acre plot sits behind the Karabots Pediatric Care Center at 48th and Market Streets. It is considered the main volunteer project for the Democratic National Convention, which will be in Philadelphia, July 25-28

Photo: Guyrandy Jean-Gilles |Photo Editor / The Daily Pennsylvanian

While politics aren’t always associated with plants, the Democratic National Convention provided volunteers in June to turn a parking lot in West Philadelphia into a flourishing community garden.

The one-acre plot sits behind the Karabots Pediatric Care Center, a satellite program of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, at 48th and Market Streets. It is the main volunteer project for the Democratic National Convention. The DNC will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia July 25-28.

In the garden, a variety of fruits and vegetables will be grown, including pears, apples, tomatoes and squash. The garden is expected to grow about 100 pounds of produce a week, enough to feed roughly 20 families during the growing season. The community garden will also hold health cooking and eating workshops.

“CHOP plans to donate the bounty to local, needy families, as well as offer cooking classes, nutritional information and recipes for our patients and families from the Karabots Center and the neighborhood,” a CHOP spokesperson said in a statement.

In numerous neighborhoods and towns across the United States, it can be difficult to find fresh, healthy and affordable food. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that it had identified more than 6,500 food deserts.

“The lack of access contributes to a poor diet and can lead to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease,” the Department of Agriculture wrote on their website.

The Karabots Center is part of the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, which provides primary care services to children in West Philadelphia and houses several community programs such as Domestic Violence Education Program, Early Head Start and Reach Out and Read.

The new West Philadelphia garden was funded by a $300,000 donation from America’s Credit Union, including operation and programming costs for the first year. The Credit Union National Association is undergoing a parallel project in Ohio at the UH Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital of Cleveland in time for the Republican National Convention.

According to NewsWorks, during a brief press conference at the community garden, Rev. Leah Daughtry told volunteers that the garden represents democratic ideals.

“We believe that when communities are strong, our nation is strong,” Daughtry said. “And what better way to demonstrate that than to ensure that children of all ages have healthy, nutritious, home-grown food right in their own backyards.”

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