The Community of Kimball Farms is a food desert. Ironically in the late 1800’s, this neighborhood was a small farm known as Kimball Farms, which was bordered by Bexley to the east. The identifying landmark for this neighborhood is the existing concrete silos that were used to store grain for Kimball Farms. These two vacant lots, 592 and 596 Kelton Avenue, are owned by the Columbus Redevelopment Office. These two properties will be transformed into an “urban” farm, which will be called Kimball Farms Community Garden, Kelton Avenue. In 2009, U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on food deserts found that neighborhoods like The Community of Kimball Farms, having access to supermarkets or large grocery stores is a problem for a relatively small percentage of households. United Way of Central Ohio is working with M&R Market, a local corner store, and this “urban” farm to implement Fresh Foods Here (FFH) program, a healthy corner store initiative. FFH promotes nutrition in Columbus neighborhoods through partnerships with corner stores that allow them to successfully stock, market and sell healthy food. This comprehensive approach increases healthful, affordable retail food through store redesign, inventory and supply chain enhancements, and community engagement. The J. Jireh Development Corp. (JJDC) “urban” farm will become a local grower to M&R Market for this FFH program and to Samba Fresh, a juicing company in Upper Arlington.
The objectives for the Kimball Farms Community Garden will be to address Nutrition/Wellness, Food Production, Children's Education, and Job Training. The “urban” farm will change a culture and a paradigm. Many of the local stores in this community do not sale healthy food. Highly processed foods and foods high in saturated fats, cholesterol, sugar and sodium contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and nonfat and low fat dairy choices help the body fight disease. Finances, childhood experiences, taste preferences, cultural factors, peer influences, media advertising, emotions, and health beliefs can all influence dietary choices. Personal health goals can supersede these factors to not only eat for disease prevention, but to maximize the body's genetic potential for best possible health. JJDC plans to use half of the property for the planting of vegetables and the other half of the property for the education of “urban” farming. JJDC will allow the residents to establish their own small community gardens on the two properties. The benefits of “urban” farms are:
· Increase property values in the immediate vicinity where they are located.
· Families and individuals without land of their own the opportunity to produce food, and provide a place for gardeners to share knowledge and skills.
· Provide access to fresh, traditional produce and nutritionally rich foods in low-income neighborhoods, where nutritious food is much less available than in other areas.
· Considered a moderate to heavy intensity physical activity, and has been linked to significant beneficial changes in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and systolic blood pressure
· Offer a focal point for community organizing and can lead to community-based efforts to deal with other social concerns.
· Add beauty to the community and heighten people’s awareness and appreciation for living things.