Throughout the course of my fieldwork at SNAPGardens, I had the opportunity to implement things that I have learned in class.I was able to create surveys using survey monkey for seniors who would do it online and on word document if we had to hand it physical copies of the survey. I was also able to develop to brochures based on the community health issues, problems and assets. It was also created based on the community needs, preferences and priorities.
I have learned that growing gardens either by utilizing community gardens or home gardens, in a sense bring residents together therefore decreasing isolation, sharing culture, recipes and also seeds. Also, by telling the community that they can grow their own plants, SNAP gardens is encouraging empowerment, a way for individuals, communities to gain mastery over their lives. Also, growing your own food may help reduce health inequities by encouraging physical activity, healthy food choices making one less prone to heart disease or obesity.
We were able to assess any problems/questions/inquiries in a culturally competent way. We were able to appreciate the perspectives of diverse individuals, communities and cultures. Our fieldwork also consisted of development basic outreach materials such as social-media announcements. Organize basic outreach events such as table events.
Also doing this internship has enhanced my communication skills for I was able to identify appropriate channels of communication based on different target audience .I was able to communicate effectively with the public, whether in one-to-one conversations,public speaking to groups, in order to convey knowledge that people could buy food producing plants and seeds using EBT benefits in culturally appropriate ways. Overall, this internship has allowed me to practice my skills in data collection, community outreach and communication.
My project at Snap gardens was that I reach out to the community to inform them about growing gardens utilizing the benefits that they have from SNAP. Our goal also included to tell people who did not have food stamps so that they can spread the word. Relatively, I sense that the project well. It was definitely conducted the way it was planned. Our goal during this internship is to reach out to any community whether or not they have food stamps regardless of their socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and education level. The important task is to make sure that we get the message out there. We want to make sure that people all around the country are cognizant that they can use their EBT benefits in a totally holistic way. In fact, they can purchase edible plants and seeds to grow their own garden. By doing so, they can eat in a more healthy way since they are planting their own vegetables, they can also stay physically active by gardening. They are also able to have a sense of community belonging for they can plant with their friends or teach people in their neighborhoods how to plant which, in the end, is good for their mental health. During our outreach luckily, we have posters that translate our message in different language such as Spanish, Haitian Creole and so forth. So if someone asks us, if they can read they can also comprehend the message that we are trying to convey.
The project is not ended yet thus I cannot assess the end result. But I have witnessed that more people purchase food producing plants at farmers markets. Also when we emailed some agencies, they have requested some posters about growing gardens using EBT benefits. The request of these posters is always good news for it is one of the most effective ways to spread the word in other states without having someone from the organization physically present to talk about it. Not having plant vendors was a big issue for us that day since we were unsure how to assess that message would stay with the community. On that day we really had to be persistent with the population we were dealing with. We also had to make sure that they’d left their emails or any contact information. Though not clear to me yet,I sense that utilizing my research skills to make a case study on the organization into finding out whether or not what they are doing is being properly or rather effectively done can be a contribution to the organization and beneficial to myself. Basically finding, comprehend public health research specific to population interested in gardening or programs that are food stamps related can definitely help to determine the significance of this project
This week my internship supervisor wants us to focus on retailer outreach. His concerns were that a lot of people are inquiring about places to buy edible plants and seeds. The problem is that they are able to find places to buy them even at some farmers markets. I believe that it is indeed an effective way to help.So since the USDA finally updated their farmers market database by listing almost all the farmers markets around United States of America that accept SNAP benefits, our task is to email all of them if they are not already a partner of SNAP gardens.
This may sound boring at first but it is actually a very good task because it shows how to reach out to people using emails/internet access. This task is beneficial for us public health professionals to be in the sense that we know if we want to get through some people, how to look it up over the internet, how to get about it ,creating spreadsheets and staying organized while dealing with thousands of contacts. So since the USDA did not post their email addresses to avoid spamming ,it is also our responsibility to look it up through their website or any sort of contact information they may have. Another way we can also do outreach is through the usage of social media .We can either like their facebook page and write on their wall or follow them on twitter and tweet about seeds and food-producing plants selling. Outreach method can sometimes be overwhelming but the point is to remind yourself of the good that will come out of it for the community you serving. This project may sound like a long one but what keeps one motivated is the end result. When doing community health work, it is good to think about the positivity and the good that will come out of it.
One day, while talking and taking pictures at a farmers market in Brooklyn..Bushwick Farmers market, I made an encounter with someone from the community. I am blogging about it because his reaction was quite puzzling. The guy approached us and expressed his concerns about the famers market in the community. He avowed that he was not happy with their presence in the community for they did not ask whether or not they could be there. I then told them about the benefits of farmers markets and he argued that fruits and vegetables were already being sold in the neighborhood. Whether or not what he was saying was the truth, his concerns automatically brought me to think about something I learn in class participatory approach to community development. Farmers markets presence are indeed beneficial but including the community, making sure they are involve, they approve of it is also very important.
Thus,the next day I’ve decided to approach a community member,from her I’ve actually gotten a different perspective.She was,unlike the other person very pleased with their presence. She confided to me she actually buys from them every week and actually grow her own little garden. She wishes that everyone could do the same for they are “missing out”. From these two persons I learn to realize the values of questioning ,interacting, interviewing everyone from a community because only based on that can a public health professional decides what’s good for a community and whether or not the method or the resources being provided are being used effectively.
Community outreach also encompasses answering questions even if it’s not directly associated with one’s project. Therefore, constant learning or reading about different topics related to your organization can sometimes be very helpful. For instance we do encourage people to use their food stamps to grow gardens. However, some people have approached how to apply for food stamps for instance. Have we not read about it or inform ourselves we would have not been able to answer those questions. So internship partner have created frequently asked questions that we hope soon to give also as a hand out to individuals who come to us. Some of the questions that we get a lot are as a follow:
What is SNAP?
It stands for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It is commonly known as Food Stamps. It is a government program helping struggling families put food on the table
How can I get/apply for food stamps?
Go to your local HRA/ Food Stamp Office. Contact Human Resources Administration, 718-557-1399 or, 1-877-472-8411, (Toll free within the five boroughs of New York City)For NYC Food Stamp Centers call 311, or visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/hra/html/directory/food_stamp_centers.shtml
How can I grow plants?
Any window space in your home or community gardens will suffice. All you need is some sunlight and water.
Where do we find community gardens?
49 Chambers Street Room 1020
New York, New York 10007
Tel. (212) 788-8070
Fax (212) 788-8052
What if I don’t have space to garden?
You can always use community gardens or try to make use of the window sill space.
As you may have read in my previous blog posts? SNAPGardens primary goal is to make sure that the population of America using food stamps actually buys food-producing plants and seeds to grow their own gardens.
My blog post will focus on the health benefits of growing your own food or simply the health benefits of gardening. Lots of studies have shown that gardening promote higher consumption of fruits and vegetables. Another benefit is that it cost effective on the long run. Buying weekly spices/herbs/vegetables weekly at the grocery store can be relatively expensive in lieu of growing them yourself. For instance, some customers have told me that they utilize a lot of basil to cook thus it was my assumption that they buy it a lot. So I tell them that buying the plant and growing it will end up being less expensive for you won’t have to buy it every day but rather take it from your garden. Basically, gardening could help people eat more nutritious food without hefty expenses.
Growing gardens either by utilizing community gardens or home gardens, in a sense bring residents together therefore decreasing isolation, sharing culture, recipes and also seeds. Also, by telling the community that they can grow their own plants, SNAP gardens is encouraging empowerment, a way for individuals, communities to gain mastery over their lives. Also, growing your own food may help reduce health inequities by encouraging physical activity, healthy food choices making one less prone to heart disease or obesity.
We demand that individuals take part of the SNAP gardens to help spread the word. We demand that they If they sell plants at a Farmer’s Market, post a SNAP Gardens “Grow your Food Stamps” sign at your stand. Volunteer to Help Visit: http://www.snapgardens.org/volunteer/Spread the word using social media: Let your friends know about SNAP Gardens such as Twitter, Facebook and others.If you sell plants at a Farmer’s Market, post a SNAP Gardens “Grow your Food Stamps” sign at your stand. Request posters at http://www.snapgardens.org/posters/.When people use SNAP to buy plants and seeds ask them to visit http://www.snapgardens.org/survey/ to give us feedback.Ask customers to return to share their success stories (and to buy more plants!)
We also strongly encourage gardening Based on several discussions that I have with people who used food stamps to grow gardens, urban gardening can reveal to be very difficult. Lots of persons have raised concerns about not having the proper space to grow. Well to shed light for those of us that reside in NYC and that are interested, if you wish to grow food producing-plants or seeds, you can also make use of community gardens. Community gardens are plots of land used for growing food by people from different family families, they are community-based collaborative efforts to grow food. I believe that urban community gardens are a good initiative for it benefits invidiuals/communities while positively impacting the natural environment.