Impact of Valley Verde Gardens on Low Income Communities
A preliminary evaluation was completed in August 2014 by University of California San Francisco Dept. of Public Health, via in-depth interviews with 21 VV gardeners. Broad outcomes included: many gardeners reported improved health outcomes, weight loss and fewer visits to the doctor after beginning the program; many reported lower levels of stress and negative moods after beginning the program; their food quality and quantity was improved, leading to increased consumption and improved nutritional knowledge; their food security was improved
Valley Verde Deepens its Roots
Valley Verde developed the Deep Roots Mentor Program in 2014.
The mentors guide and support the new gardeners participating in the Organic Gardening Program. During six months, mentors work with at least four Valley Verde participants. They do home visits and progress the growth of participant’s gardens. Mentors share their information, findings and suggestions at the mentor meeting held once a month.
Currently, there are 4 mentors in Gilroy and 1 in San Jose; David Robledo, Sandra Herrera, Georgina Cockrum, Leticia Martinez and Angie Thomas.
During the last meeting held in November, mentors shared their experience with the mentor program.
David shares, “I’ve learned a lot with the mentor program and I feel I can share what I’ve learned with the participants.”
“The program has broadened my attention about gardening. There is so much to learn about gardening!”- Sandy.
Mentors show their support for each other, “Just call one of us when you are stuck”, Sandra.
Sandy shares a home visit she made, “When there is a problem at their garden and I don’t have an answer for them, I find the answer. Going to their home and interacting with them helps establish a relationship with them.”
Home Grown (from Metro News)
Metro News featured Valley Verde as one of the urban ag startups planting the seed for a new Valley of Heart's Delight.
"... Eliseo Aceves talks passionately about his eggplant and tomatillo seedlings while he eats homemade enchiladas at a Valley Verde graduation potluck.
The seasonal carpet-layer, who once helped harvest nursery plants in the Central Valley, has become something of an evangelist for backyard farming. He fell into planting during a slow season at work—broke and frustrated with the unwanted free time. Valley Verde offered him odd jobs, building planter boxes. And working with people excited about growing their own food sparked his own interest. Now, his family gets most of its produce from food they grow themselves" (Jennifer Wadsworth). http://www.metroactive.com/features/urban-farms-agriculture-garden-to-table-silicon-valley.html
Free Low-income Program:
Valley Verde provides low-income families with gardening and nutrition classes and all the materials to start growing organic vegetables at their own homes at no cost. Valley Verde provides each family:
- Five classes on gardening and nutrition and monthly garden meetings.
- One or two 4 foot x 8 foot raised garden beds including high quality soil and water efficient irrigation systems.
- A diverse selection of vegetable seedlings and seeds
- A community planting day
- Garden mentoring services including home visits
To maximize the efficient use of resources and support, low-income families in Santa Clara County are enrolled in groups based on geographic location each spring and fall. If you are interested in learning more, send us an email.
Valley Verde began as a two-year pilot that provided free gardens for 200 San Jose low-income families. Since then, Valley Verde has provided free gardens to an additional 135 families. Learn how Valley Verde is transforming lives.
A preliminary evaluation was completed in August 2014 by University of California San Francisco Dept. of Public Health, via in-depth interviews with 21 of our gardeners. Broad outcomes included: many gardeners reported improved health outcomes, weight loss and fewer visits to the doctor after beginning the program; many reported lower levels of stress and negative moods; their food quality and quantity was improved.Read more about our impact here.
Valley Verde sells garden installation and maintenance services as well as “do-it-yourself” kits to individuals, organizations and businesses who would like to start a vegetable garden for their employees. Sales of the services and starter kits go towards supporting the free services offered to the low-income community.
Valley Verde offers very affordable raised bed gardens that could be useful for gardens at homes, apartment complexes, churches, schools, community organizations, small and medium sized businesses and corporations. Contact us to learn more.
Vegetable Garden Benefits
Growing vegetables is good for you and helps reduce your environmental impact.
- Growing vegetables is a great way to improve your diet, get more exercise and reduce stress
- Gardening is fun and brings families and neighbors together
- Fresh, vine ripened vegetables are nutrient and fiber rich which help protect against chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease
- Vegetables can be grown year around in Santa Clara County
- Our surveys show that two 4 foot by 8 foot raised bed gardens can grow between $500 and $700 worth of vegetables per year
- Gardens reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste
Growing vegetables at home can be done in a single pot on your patio or on a larger scale depending upon the space and time you have available. Vegetable gardens are a part of making our cities sustainable and improving our quality of life.
Learn how to create your own vegetable garden.