The Spurs Community Garden is part of the San Antonio Food Bankâs (SAFB) Nutrition Education Program which provides garden fresh organic produce to one of itâs sponsors, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education Program (SNAP-ED) uses some of the produce for nutrition education, economical ways to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical exercise on itâs walking trail to get fit.
A new feature of the SAFB complex is its Energy Conservation project which includes a lower energy lighting retrofit throughout the headquarters building, and in the Spurs Community Garden an 81 kW solar photovoltaic system. A rainwater harvesting system on the headquarters building roof collects and stores rainwater in the metal tanks here in San Antonio, TX, on Monday, October 31, 2011. The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, through the Department of Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant Program.
The 5.5-acre garden has a teaching/demonstration garden, large âproduction gardens, and bee hives. In its first year of operation the garden produced 2,640 pounds of produce and attracted 602 volunteers to support itâs operation and improvement. Most of the produce goes to the more than 500 human service agencies and used in its Community Kitchen to support various meal programs. (For more information go to: safoodbank.org/index.php/programs/nutrition/community-garden).
âWe couldnât do what we do without our partnership with USDAââ said President and CEO Eric Cooper. He continues, âWe are privileged in partnering (with the USDA) to feed kids, through the summer, with the Summer Food Service Program, and throughout the year, with the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP). Then in our approach to feeding seniors, we partner with USDA in the CSFP, and the Senior Farmerâs Market (Nutrition) Program. â¦You know, once families have access to food we believe it is important to educate them. Through the support of the SNAP-Education Program we are able to educate them during their time of need. With this comprehensive approach we are really able to get the right food, at the right amount, at the right time, to needy families throughout our community â which allows us to feed the fifty-eight thousand we do, each week.â
SAFB serves 16 counties in Southwest Texas and states, âNearly one out of every four children and one out of every five adults in Southwest Texas lives in poverty and has difficulty meeting basic nutritional needs.â According to SAFB, sixty-five percent of the people requesting emergency food have children. âAdditionally, the senior citizens and those living on a fixed income generally have limited funds for a consistent grocery budget.â USDA photo by Lance Cheung.
May 3, 2014