BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – Kettering Health and The Mall at Fairfield Commons are partnering to give community members an opportunity to take charge of their health by growing their own fruits and vegetables.
The organizations collaborated to construct a community garden outside the mall, where 16 plots are available to be used by those interested in growing produce for their families.
“I’m seeing a lot of things, said Leanne Rubosky, general manager of the mall. There’s onions and tomatoes. Some people are growing some flowers. There are peppers. Those seem to be the most popular items.”
Rubosky said one of the goals of the garden is to provide community members with a space and tools to grow healthy foods that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Dietitian with Kettering Health Alicia Buterbaugh, said having those nutritious options is critical because they help reduce the likelihood of chronic illnesses.
“These diseases include obesity, heart related problems, and also type II diabetes,” she explained.
Buterbaugh added, the benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables in a community garden run even deeper than just fresh produce — with growers having more exposure to sunlight and vitamin D, and increased opportunities for camaraderie, which Rubosky said is much needed following a year of pandemic lockdowns.
“I think that 2020 created a need just to have a healthier lifestyle, and to be focused on health,” she said. And so this gives our families in our neighborhoods the opportunity to come out and to plant gardens.”
While Rubosky said there are only a few plots left in the garden for this season, applications will go out in April of 2022 for a new set of growers to take over the plots. There is no charge to use the plots. To apply, for your own space in the garden, click here.
To view some healthy recipes that incorporate fruits and vegetables, click here.