The Spurs Community Garden is part of the San Antonio Food Bank’s Nutrition Education Program and provides garden fresh organic produce to one of it’s sponsors, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education Program (SNAP-ED). This produce is used for presentations about nutrition education, economical ways to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical exercise on it’s walking trail to get fit in San Antonio, TX, on Monday, October 31, 2011. The 5.5-acre garden has a teaching/demonstration garden, large –production gardens, and bee hives. In its first year of operation the garden produced 2,640 pounds of produce and attracted 602 volunteers to support it’s 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, some of which are supported by the USDA. (For more information go to safoodbank.org/index.php/programs/nutrition/community-garden).
“We couldn’t do what we do without our partnership with USDA’” said President and CEO Eric Cooper. He continues, “We 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 Farmer’s Market (Nutrition) Program. 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, the right amount, at the right time, to needy families throughout our community – which allows us to feed the fifty-eight thousand we do, each week.”
SAFB serves 16 counties in Southwest Texas and states, “Nearly 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.” According to SAFB, sixty-five percent of the people requesting emergency food have children. “Additionally, the senior citizens and those living on a fixed income generally have limited funds for a consistent grocery budget.” USDA photo by Lance Cheung.