Community Garden Project

Community Garden Project

Awardee: Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC)
Location: (Sacramento, CA)

About Sacramento Native American Health Center

The Sacramento Native American Health Center (SNAHC) is a community-owned and operated non-profit Title V Urban Indian Health Center located in the center of downtown Sacramento serving more than 5,000 patients representing over 200 tribal nations.

About the Project

Project Goal:

To improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables using a multigenerational approach and collaborating with American Indian owned businesses and community partners to offer community and home gardens.  Both adult and youth American Indian/Alaska Native patients will be able to reconnect with the land through gardening with a special emphasis on those living with a chronic condition.  

“A cultural component should be added to the strategies. For our community, culture is prevention and traditional eating is healthy.” 

Opportunities Communities Face

  • Whole movement to change the relationship AI/AN people have with food
  • Food should not make people sick but instead to heal and nurture bodies
  • We are seeing small changes with families with their conscious decisions to eat less and introduce new fresher items
  • There should be a cultural component added to the strategies
  • For our communities culture is prevention and traditional eating is healthy
  • Be aware of historical trauma and how it relates to food choices and higher level of stress leads to higher BMIs
  • Culture should be added as a strategy

Adapting the CDC Winnable Battles to Our Nation's Needs

  • Utilize traditional methods in planting and harvesting traditional plants and local produce
  • Purchase seeds and supplies from American Indian/Alaska Native-owned businesses
  • Consult with a traditional person to support the implementation of the garden
  • Garden site is a cultural hub for American Indian/Alaska Native people and the community

We talked about how gardening is a form of exercise and that is a traditional way, and that it is communal to be in a space with your whole family. The story of the three sisters garden was used with respect to the unique culture and traditions of the tribes in California.

Our Impact on the Community 

  • Community Involvement
    • 42 community members completed a five-part “Healthy Food Series” workshop series – Interactive Cooking Class at Sacramento Natural Food Co-op, Farmers Market Class with Alchemist, Gardening 101 at Sacramento Food Bank, Traditional Foods Demonstration, Gardening 102 with Sacramento Natural Food Co-op 
    • Created a collaboration between medical and social services programs at the health center
    • Sacramento Food Bank allowed us to use their teaching garden and provide information to our patients regarding their food bank
  • Community Garden Project
    • Worked with local community college to provide free seeds from the agriculture department
    • Individuals who completed 3 classes received farmer’s market voucher
    • Worked with a gardening organization to provide “grow your own groceries” workshops targeted towards young families, hypertension, and diabetic patients
  • Future Plans
    • Promoting physical health through gardening and providing the skills so families may start their own gardens at home
    • Multidisciplinary team of employees has been meeting bi-weekly for 2 months – plan for a five-part series
    • Working with the Alchemist to negotiate a Farmer’s Market Voucher to participants and in conjunction a Veggie Rx program for patients in medical

Lessons Learned through Implementing this Program

  • Projects that seem simple actually can take a long time to get started.
  • Remain flexible and not get fixated on one idea or solution
  • Multidisciplinary team positive for planning and creative purposes, we are engaging leaders who represent certain communities
  • If we create a program regarding gardening, our community members will participate.
  • The traditional foods workshops were by far the mot popular due to the tie of culture.