State Farm and Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) Sow Seeds for Community Gardens Initiative

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Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority received $28,000 State Farm grant to support Community Gardens Initiative program. Kick off Celebration to be held Oct. 18.

A $28,000 State Farm® Youth Advisory Board grant will allow young residents of NRHA assisted-rental communities to sow the seeds for community gardens that improve land-use, access to fresh produce and healthy lifestyles.

State Farm, City of Norfolk, NRHA officials, community leaders and students will celebrate this fall harvest at 2:30 pm October 18, 2012 in the community garden located at Calvert Square apartments, 975 Bagnall Rd. in Norfolk.

Residents of NRHA assisted-rental communities lack proximity or economic access to fresh and nutritional food outlets. Poor diet and lack of consistent physical activity is a significant contributor to obesity, which leads to other serious health problems. Research shows that obesity rises as incomes fall.

By cultivating and tending community gardens, located in their neighborhood or at their elementary school, youth can encourage their peers to eat healthier at a younger age as well as be an example for parents, elderly and disabled residents.

As with many urban centers, Norfolk is challenged with improving indicators and outcomes for healthy lifestyles. In that regard, Norfolk City Council earlier this year adopted a “Healthy Norfolk” initiative “that through community collaboration will support health and well being by actively promoting healthy policies, environmental change and education.”

The NRHA Community Garden Program received $28,440 from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. NRHA is one of only 68 organizations to receive a service-learning, youth-led grant across the U.S. and Canada. The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has granted over $24 million in grant money since 2006, empowering youth to implement service learning in 397 communities.

“The young adults on the State Farm Youth Advisory Board picked this grant because it stood out in a sea of applications,” said State Farm Agent Garry Price. “I recently met one of the young gardeners, and I understand exactly why this project was chosen. These students are ambitious, and I believe we will see the positive effects of their work all over Norfolk.”

“I think this is exactly the type of community collaboration City Council has in mind as we make Norfolk an even better place to live,” said NRHA Chief Executive Officer Shurl Montgomery. “We are grateful for State Farm’s recognition and partnership in this healthy initiative.”

About State Farm®:
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts – more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.

About the Youth Advisory Board:
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17-20, who were chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee this $5 million/year signature service-learning initiative. The Youth Board identified the issues, issued competitive grants and will now provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to site grantees.

About NRHA
Founded in 1940, NRHA is a national leader in community revitalization and fostering sustainable mixed-income communities. As the largest redevelopment and housing authority in Virginia, NRHA plays a key role in making Norfolk the city of choice to build, work, play and live. For more information, please visit http://www.nrha.us

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Ed Ware
NRHA
757-314-1682
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