​​​As you know, in most cases, no person or company is going to come into poor communities and save the day.  It's up to community members and representatives to work on viable, sustainable solutions for access to healthy foods. In that spirit, The Mosque Cares | Ministry of Imam W Deen Mohammed launched the 2017 You Can Grow Campaign, encouraging community members, particularly in food deserts to create community gardens in their neighborhoods.


TMC | MIWDM this campaign to raise public awareness of the vital roles community gardens play in producing and providing many of the healthy foods we need and love. This is especially important for so called food deserts.  Through this multimedia campaign, Americans will learn more about where their food comes from and how they can take action to help improve community access to health food.  By participating in the campaign, the pubic will play a pivotal role in reducing the number of food deserts in our country.

Here are four things you can do to take action and help TMC reach our goal:
1) Donate to the campaign!  
2) Share the campaign link with your friends, family, neighbors and coworkers
3) Post to your social media network to help spread the word
4) Visit 
TheMosqueCares.com to learn more about this important initiative and how you can get involved
__________________________________________________________________________________

 Here are some steps to create a successful community garden:

1. FIND OUT WHO IS INTERESTED
Start a neighborhood Facebook group, send a Google survey, pass out flyers.  

2. FOR THOSE WHO RESPOND
Determine the type of garden needed:

  • small or large
  • planting on land or using raised beds
  • organic or not
  • types of vegetables
  • easy, moderate, expert
  • everyone has a section or group plants together
  • Keep in touch with regular updates on Facebook, by email, phone tree


3. RESEARCH AND  DOCUMENT AVAILABLE RESOURCES
Assess what is available:

  • Are you able to use a vacant lot or space
  • Will participants grow on their own property and share/swap
  • What are participants skill levels
  • Contact your local municipality for input 
  • How will you fund the garden: donations, dues, everyone does their own


4. SPREAD THE WORD
Most community gardens self support and initially need volunteer help to prepare the soil, plant seeds or plants, tend the garden (water, weed), have the right gardening tools, etc.

5. CHOOSE THE LOCATION
Consider tending and watering needs

  • Is it each participants property?
  • Is it available land near participants?
  • How will it be monitored, maintained, harvested?
  • Will you need liability sign off documents or insurance?


6. PREPARE THE LAND

  • Will you plant in the ground?
  • Will you use raised beds?
  • Planting prep includes clean it, turning soil, adding soil and amendments, gathering materials and having proper tools
  • Design the plot arrangement
  • How many plots are available
  • What is the plot assignment
  • What is being grown where
  • Will you share tools


7. POST RESPONSIBILITIES IN PLAIN VIEW 

  • Who does what, when?
  • Where do things belong?
  • How is clean up done?
  • Who monitors?
  • When is weeding and watering?
  • How / when will harvest be done?


HAVE FUN

  • Invite children, teens and young adults
  • TEACH them that they can grow their own food
  • Other activities include composting, recycling
  • More fun:  Consider a Butterfly  Garden and/or Hummingbird Garden
  • Create a mini-garden for small spaces
  • Share the Good News using #TMC-UCanGrow

USDA Defines Food Deserts
Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

This has become a big problem because while food deserts are often short on whole food providers, especially fresh fruits and vegetables, instead, they are heavy on local quickie marts that provide a wealth of processed, sugar, and fat laden foods that are known contributors to our nation’s obesity epidemic. The food desert problem has in fact become such an issue that the USDA has outlined a map of our nation’s food deserts.  The Food Desert Locator is a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to end childhood obesity. 

With Allah's Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer