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Clermont College Community Garden Helps to Fight Hunger in Clermont County

Students, faculty, staff and friends are welcome to vote now to show support for the community garden and help it win a $25,000 State Farm grant.

Date: 4/4/2013 11:00:00 AM
By: Mae Hanna
Phone: (513) 732-5332

UC ingot  

Clermont College’s Community Garden was recently named a finalist for the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program cash award. UC Clermont College’s entry was one of 200 chosen out of 3,000 to participate in the contest. Forty finalists will each receive $25,000 apiece. The goal of the State Farm Neighborhood Assist program is to fund community projects that have a positive impact on local neighborhoods. If funded, UC Clermont plans to use the award to expand its partnership with Inter Parish Ministry (IPM) to provide more fresh produce to low-income Clermont County families through mobile food pantries.

You can help support the Clermont College Community Garden by voting. Visit the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook app by clicking here. Get the application, then click on the “Vote” button to show your support for the mobile food pantry program. The voting phase is open from April 4-22, and any Facebook user who gets the application is eligible to vote up to 10 times per day.

The Clermont College Community Garden was founded in honor of Earth Day 2010 by the Biology Department at UC Clermont. The garden is used as an outdoor learning lab for students, as well as a way for the college to give back to the community. UC Clermont donates all of the produce from the garden to local food pantries and homeless shelters. In 2011-12, the garden donated two tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to vulnerable families in the community. IPM is a local nonprofit organization that has been helping those in need for 48 years by providing food, clothing and community support services. In 2011, IPM served nearly 20,000 community members.

In 2012, UC Clermont and IPM expanded their partnership by sponsoring mobile food pantries throughout Clermont County. Mobile food pantries are crucial in this community because it has been deemed a rural food desert – an area where a resident must travel more than 10 miles to get to the nearest grocery store or supermarket. In Clermont County, there is no public transportation and it is difficult for economically disadvantaged citizens to get to grocery stores and food assistance programs. Mobile food pantries are a solution to this problem because they are offered at various locations where food pantries currently do not exist.

Mobile food pantry trucks carry food from Free Store Food Bank and UC Clermont garden produce to various churches, schools and other donation areas, eight-10 times annually. Garden produce is an important and nutritious supplement to the nonperishable food typically provided by food pantries. Funding from the State Farm Neighborhood Assist will greatly expand this partnership and provide Clermont citizens with more fresh and healthy produce.

The mobile food pantry program is an integral part of the programs offered by IPM to fulfill its mission of helping the neediest members of our community. The program started in 2010 and has tripled the amount of individuals, families and children served. For each mobile food pantry, volunteers distribute more than 5,000 pounds of food to 100 families in two hours.

In addition to increasing the number of mobile food pantries, UC Clermont and IPM seek to expand their efforts by adding an educational element that includes information about nutrition and recipes. UC Clermont’s garden coordinator, Ruchi Bawa, will hold cooking classes and food tasting events with the help of community volunteers in order to show residents how to cook affordable, healthy meals with produce from the garden. The goal of the partnership is to provide more healthy food while also improving the health of the region.

Help bring an end to hunger and poor nutrition in Clermont County and vote today for the Clermont College Community Garden: https://www.state-assist.com/cause/3978/clermont-community-garden

Another simple way to assist neighbors in need is to designate “Clermont Community Garden - 8001771” as your choice for your Faculty/Staff Campaign donation: https://webapps.uc.edu/impact/