Garden on wheels: new program wants to solve “food desert” issue in Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) –  Twenty mobile gardens will be given out to neighbors in the Niagara Falls Area.

Cornell Cooperative Extension in connection with the Niagara Falls Library is launching “Grow on the Go,” a mobile garden project based in Niagara Falls.

The program will help neighbors grow fruits and vegetables in an urban environment. Many in Niagara Falls don’t have garden space or live in rented homes. This limits yard space and lack of sunlight.

Justine Hays, CCE-Niagara County lead Nutritionist said, “To be able to have this garden, they could wheel in their apartment or put in their yards. This really gives them a better chance of getting fruits and vegetables and we know the first step to eating more fruits and vegetables is having access to fruits and vegetables.”

Those behind the program stress people don’t necessarily need “green thumbs” to get involved in grow on the go. It’s also targeted towards families who are on the SNAP program.

“Grow on the Go” is based off the North Coast Food Web mobile gardens concept, using abandoned shopping carts as gardens. The shopping carts will be repurposed and filled with weed block liner, soil, and plants. The program allows one shopping cart per household, giving individuals and families their own “greenspace”. Using shopping carts allows the garden to be wheeled into buildings, onto elevators, and into apartments.

Joanna Battaglia, a librarian from Niagara Falls Library said, “We’re going to be showing them not only how to grow it but how to eat it once they grow it. It’s really something that can suit a lot of different lifestyles. People who aren’t home owners to have something to grow before they have a home of their own.”

The clinics will also periodically include a Master Gardener from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County, to provide hands on support for gardening questions or concerns. Cart clinics will be free and open to the public, and those not involved in Grow on the Go are welcome to come seek information about nutrition and gardening.

If you’d like more information, you can visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension website. 

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