September 27, 2017

Duckworth and Matsui Join Forces to Reduce Hunger and Improve Health Through Community Gardening


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), whose family relied on food stamps in her youth, introduced a resolution today during Hunger Action Month to reduce hunger and improve health around the country by promoting community gardens and the positive impacts they have on local communities. The resolution, if passed, would designate a National Community Gardening Awareness Week during the last week of September to support the gardens nationwide. Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06) introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives.

"Community gardens are an important - but too often overlooked - asset for communities that help people around the country lead better, healthier lives," said Duckworth. "Americans of all backgrounds benefit from the shared sense of community these gardens foster and the positive impacts they have on nearby residents, including reducing hunger and improving access to healthy, nutritious foods. We should support and encourage their expansion throughout our nation."

"Too often, families don't have access to fresh and healthy food where they live,"
said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. "Community gardens provide needed sources of nutrition, help reduce hunger, and promote sustainability in public spaces. A National Community Gardening Awareness Week would support cities and localities that are expanding these essential spaces to help foster healthy futures."

If enacted, the new National Community Gardening Awareness Week would recognize and support the impact community gardens have on their communities: increasing access to fresh and healthy produce, helping reduce hunger and sustain local food banks, creating a more livable environment and improving resident quality of life.

The text of the resolution is as follows:
Whereas countless families in the United States live with hunger every day and do not have access to fresh produce in their neighborhoods;
Whereas community gardens conserve limited resources and promote sustainability;
Whereas community gardens provide an important and nutritious source of fresh produce donations for local food pantries and social service agencies;
Whereas community gardens enable individuals to gain control over the quality, variety, and cost of their food supply;
Whereas community gardening encourages individuals of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds to work together, foster a better sense of community, and improve the quality of their lives;
Whereas community-based youth and school gardening programs encourage personal self-esteem and healthy attitudes toward learning;
Whereas community gardening and greening projects provide a catalyst for neighborhood and community development;
Whereas community gardens reduce city heat and preserve open spaces for present and future generations;
Whereas community gardens and other green spaces-
(1) provide a more livable environment in municipalities throughout the United States; and
(2) present a positive local image to the residents of, and visitors to, a community;
Whereas community gardens help provide local food banks with fresh produce for individuals in need; and
Whereas the last week of September 2017 is an appropriate week to designate as "National Community Gardening Awareness Week": Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate supports the goals and ideals of National Community Gardening Awareness Week, including-
(1) raising awareness of the importance of community gardens and urban agriculture;
(2) improving access to public land for the development of sustainable food projects;
(3) encouraging further growth of community gardens and other opportunities that increase food self-reliance, improve fitness, contribute to a cleaner environment, and enhance community development; and
(4) supporting cooperative efforts among Federal, State, and local governments and nonprofit organizations-
(A) to promote the development and expansion of community gardens; and
(B) to increase the accessibility of community gardens to disadvantaged population groups.