FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - A new greenhouse and kitchen aims to a be a hub of healthy food and resources in Fort Wayne. The Parkview Community Greenhouse and Learning Kitchen, located at 1716 Beacon Street near Parkview Behavioral Health, was built with the help of multiple community organizations.
The facility was chosen for the 46805 area because it is considered one of Fort Wayne’s food deserts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food deserts are areas where residents lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables and other foods that make up a full and healthy diet.
The greenhouse and kitchen will connect residents to not only fresh produce, but skills and information to improve their nutrition and well-being.
"We want to connect people to the power of produce, as well as knowledge on how to grow food and prepare meals that are life-sustaining,” said Kathy Wehrle, community outreach dietitian, Parkview Health. “The hands-on skill building that will occur at this center will be a catalyst for positively impacting the overall health of the community."
The Community Greenhouse will offer tours starting May 9, with gardening classes available later this summer. The greenhouse will also be used to conduct research and trial different growing techniques. Additionally, it will feature a children's garden, funded in part by a grant from KidsGardening, a national nonprofit that creates opportunities for kids to play, learn and grow through gardening.
The Learning Kitchen will kick off classes beginning May 7. Classes will include cooking demonstrations and hands-on activities designed to foster the skills needed to select, grow and cook fresh food.
This summer, the facility will host HEAL Farm Markets weekly. The HEAL program which stands for Healthy Eating, Active Living is made possible through funding from the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and Parkview Health. It is the only farmers market in the area to offer a "double up" program, which benefits the underserved by doubling the value of SNAP EBT, WIC and senior vouchers.
All classes and tours are free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. To learn more about the programs or to register, click here.