“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
This quote rang true at several childcare centers in Juneau this spring through the Edible Child Care Gardens project. Sponsored by a grant from the Alaska Nurses Foundation and generous donations from Home Depot, a strategic health planning group called Partnerships for a Healthier Juneau along with the Association for the Education for Young Children built four eight-foot by two-foot raised beds at four local child care centers. The goal of the project is to increase children’s knowledge of, and access to, healthy foods. In addition to receiving a raised bed, each child care center will receive soil amendments for three years, seeds for edible plants, edible plant starts, watering cans and a class about gardening basics taught by members of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardeners. Child care centers that will receive these edible gardens include: Spunky Sprouts, ABC Center, TLC child care and Goldcreek Child Development Center. In the fall each child care center plans to host a Family Harvest night where kids will get to share a meal supplemented with produce from their own gardens with their teachers and parents.
The Edible Child Care Gardens project is part of one of the many community health goals that Partnerships for a Healthier Juneau has planned in the next several years to improve the health of families in the Juneau community. Members of Partnerships for a Healthier Juneau include representatives from health care, public health, law enforcement, early childhood education, women’s advocacy services, the faith community, and individual community members. To date, they have partnered with over 31 community organizations and individuals.
Partnerships for a Healthier Juneau is looking for more community members to join in the community-wide health planning process. If you have interest in improving the health of Juneauites through projects like these please join us for the next Partnerships community meeting. At the meeting we will be discussing our Community Health Improvement Action Plan. All are welcome.