The Noah’s Ark community garden project will be an urban farm that provides meaningful daytime activities and potential employment opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Food scarcity is a growing concern for many Lakeland area families. The recent economic downturn has left many families experiencing difficulty in finding the funds needed to purchase groceries. According to the 2010 US Census Bureau, 14.9% of families fall below the poverty line. In addition, 5 out of the 13 Lakeland community zip codes are highlighted on USDA’s Economic Research Food Services map indicating areas with an identified food shortage for families.
For adults with developmental disabilities, the issue has become an even greater concern as supportive services have been cut, leaving them with limited funds with which to live independently let alone purchase healthy and nutritious foods.
Fewer than 8% of Lakeland’s developmentally disabled adults hold a job and therefore struggle to survive on a little over $700 a month that they receive from SSI.
Start up funding for the Noah’s Ark community garden was donated by The George Jenkins Fund at the GiveWell Foundation. The garden provides ways for the adults with developmental disabilities to discover and enhance their contributions to the community through meaningful community engagement and productive work.
The Noah’s Ark residents have planted a variety of fruits and vegetables in raised bed containers (earth boxes). Once harvested, produce is distributed to residents and low-income families in the greater Lakeland area.