There's a lot of buying power in $800,000.
That's the amount Asheville nonprofit Green Opportunities recently received to improve access to quality food in low-income communities. The money will build community gardens and greenhouses near Pisgah View and Hillcrest apartments and at the W.C. Reid Center. Other possible projects include a community kitchen that would produce low-cost meals and a grocery store in the Southside neighborhood (Livingston Heights).
The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The mission of GO is to educate the community about healthy, locally-produced food. GO also works to eliminate “food deserts,” areas where access to grocery stores and farmers markets is limited. “We're trying to develop relationships through food,” says co-director DeWayne Barton. “Once people's eyes open, it's like they're on fire. It takes time for some people to get it, but once they get it, they're inspired.”
Green Opportunities expects grant-funded projects to create about 34 jobs. Many of those new positions could be filled by participants in GO's programs, including graduates from the culinary training program, Kitchen-Ready.
For more information about GO and the grant, visit greenopportunities.org.