Hello this is Vincent Smith and this is the #EATING project. I played football for the University of Michigan and now I build school gardens with elementary students. I came to Michigan from a small town in Florida called Pahokee. Pahokee lacks access to fresh vegetables and there are no grocery stores. After I graduated I wanted to do something with my education to help my community make healthier choices.
In 2012 we started #EATING to raise money and plant a community garden in my hometown of Pahokee, Florida. We printed t-shirts to raise money to build the the H.O.P.E. Learning Gardens. With the help of Michigan Fans and Alumni we started construction on the H.O.P.E. Garden in the summer of 2013. We transformed an empty lot into a fruit and herb greenspace for members of the community.
Now Pahokee children have access to free Starfruit, Tangerines, Guavas, Oranges. Lemons, Mulberries, Bananas, and more. Pahokee was once the vegetable capital of the world and is known for its rich black soil also called "The Muck".
We are working with court offender to maintain the gardens during the different seasons. Young people are being trained in our gardens.
“Football gave us the responsibility as a public figure to role-model healthy eating and living decisions. If you show the youth how to eat right, they will live right. ”
— Vincent Smith, FOUNDER, Running back (U-MICH)
Decrease in repeat offenses for participants in a garden program in Sandusky, Ohio.
Increase in positive outlook for participants of youth garden elementary school program.
Decrease in aggression at age 17 in young adults with diets rich in vitamins and minerals.