Sequim Gazette staff
Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics (VIMO) free clinic in Port Angeles was awarded a 2013-2014 Healthy Communities/Healthy America grant from the American Medical Association Foundation this week. The grant will allow clients from VIMO and First Step Family Support Center to learn gardening and cooking skills through the “Growing Healthy” initiative.
“Growing Healthy” is a new program designed to help people eat better and feel better through gardening. In “Growing Healthy,” clients from VIMO and First Step who have diabetes or are at risk for diabetes will help plant, tend and harvest garden plots at the Fifth Street Community Garden in Port Angeles. They also will get to taste and prepare foods from the garden. The project is intended to help participants get exercise, eat healthier and be more successful at controlling their diabetes.
VIMO competed with hundreds of applicants from across the country for the grant and was one of five clinics to receive the award. VIMO will receive $10,000 from the AMA Foundation for the project. Larry B. Little, DMD, VIMO executive director, attributed VIMO’s success in receiving the grant, in large part, to the broad-based community support for the project. VIMO is partnering with First Step Family Support Center, Peninsula Behavioral Health, WSU Clallam County Extension and Port Angeles Victory Gardens to make “Growing Healthy” worthy of the national recognition the AMA Foundation has provided. First Federal, The Home Depot, Gibson Design Group, Anjo Soils and Bella Italia already have contributed funds, materials and time to the project. For example, new raised and elevated beds (garden beds on legs), designed and built by Hank Gibson from Gibson Design Group in Port Angeles, were added to the Community Garden on Aug. 7 to make gardening activities easier for “Growing Healthy” participants with physical challenges.
The Fifth Street Community Garden is located just off Peabody, right across from City Hall. The garden includes more than 50 individual plots that are each 9 feet by 12 feet. The garden was developed on city property in 2011 and is open to the public.
To donate to or become involved in the “Growing Healthy” initiative, contact Zoe Apisdorf, VIMO development coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 457-4431.