Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Homestead and West Mifflin teamed up this August to create a vegetable garden in our Duquesne/West Mifflin Clubhouse to promote STEM and healthy lifestyles education.

Duquesne / West Mifflin is one of the many areas of Pittsburgh that is known as a “Food Desert”. According to Bill Moyers Journal,  “the poor quality of the processed food available in many food deserts” — areas in which residents lack access to a local supermarket — contribute to high rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Today, lack of access to nutritious food continues to be a significant problem in both rural and urban areas across the country.

This is why we are empowering our kids from our Duquesne/West Mifflin Clubhouse with a vegetable garden!  Our kids will learn responsibility as they plant, weed and maintain the entire garden all spring and summer! Through the Lowe’s Heroes program, our corporate partner, Lowe’s, wholeheartedly agreed when we asked if we can work with them on this very important project.

There are so many benefits to gardening. The sensory experience of gardening “allows people to connect to this primal state,” says James Jiler, the founder and executive director of Urban GreenWorks, a Miami-based nonprofit that creates garden and park programs for low-income neighborhoods. “A lot of people [understand] that experience. They may not be able to put it into words, but they understand what’s happening.”

James goes on to say, “Working in the garden has other, less spiritual rewards. In addition to being a source of fresh, healthy produce, gardening can ease stress, keep you limber, and even improve your mood.”

Our Duquesne/West Mifflin Clubhouse is taking this a step further and incorporating the garden into our STEM education. Mulching, composting, photosynthesis, and nutrients will all be covered, among many other topics. We will also teach our children the scientific and health benefits behind eating nutritious foods.

When Lowe’s came out to survey the garden area, they generously decided they would also clean things up with a fresh coat of paint, outdoor furniture, a gazebo, and mums until the growing season in the spring! 

                                                                                    

We could not have done this project alone and thank Lowe’s so much for understanding the critical need for healthy lifestyles! 

Looking for your company to get involved with a Boys & Girls Clubhouse? Contact Eileen Stewart to find out how!