Last month, the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court voted to move forward with Phase II of the Greenies Urban Farm construction, just in time for the farm’s second harvest. The nearly $2.3 million phase will include the construction of a vegetative perimeter fence, 100-person outdoor classroom, pavilion, plumbing, and other infrastructure. Commissioner Calvert hosted a press conference last week to celebrate the project moving forward and the arrival of the second large harvest from the farm.
Commissioner Calvert led the court in awarding the project a total of $11.1million, in this year’s County budget. The farm is located on the city’s Eastside, where there are food deserts and many residents have difficulty finding or cannot afford fresh vegetables. The relocation of the Bexar County Agricultural Extension Service into the inner city is part of a national trend to make these services more accessible to populations most in need of eradicating food deserts.
The vegetables being distributed to CareLink and the SA Food Bank include: broccoli, cabbage, bell peppers, cucumber, and zucchini. Each of these foods has its own health benefits and the Bexar County Agricultural Extension Service will provide a highlighted recipe, unique to each crop. Some benefits include aiding with weight loss, helping with eye health, regulating thyroid activity, and guarding against certain types of cancer.
“My goal is to have thousands of pounds of local, organic foods to families across Bexar help us lower healthcare costs to the University Health System and taxpayers. We are what we eat,” exclaimed Commissioner Calvert.
As the urban farm continues to grow so does its impact on the community. Commissioner Calvert is taking the next step to deepen his Food is Medicine initiative by utilizing the University Health CareLink program to provide and track the health improvements to CareLink members. University Health will pick up and provide the produce to predetermined CareLink members.
Growing healthy communities creates long-lasting benefits that will lead to an increase of behavioral and mental changes that have healthier outcomes for individuals, families, and their community.