Team Gardens' mission is to increase access to healthy foods, reduce juvenile crime and reduce violent behaviors through a gardening based intervention. We are athletes and we work with fans and community organizations to engage neighborhoods.
We are focused on role-modeling healthy eating choices. Building gardens with the kids makes them want to eat vegetables. Athletes make gardening cool. Fix the diet in the youth and that will help reduce behavior issues.
Why athlete participation matters
Just by showing up, athletes can get youth to participate. We all know how big a role athletes play in young peoples lives and that young people copy what they see athletes doing.
Athlete role models are perceived as important influencers to teens. Many teenagers look up to them for what’s “cool” in products and brands (Bush, 2004). Effective health promotion and community empowerment may require the involvement of community lay health workers and active, respected community members (Wallerstein and Bernstein, 1988).
Young people want to come work with us. If you talk to our participants you will learn that they are really excited to come work. Making gardening fun and exciting makes more youth come out and participate.
Why we are planting gardens
We chose gardens because everyone needs to eat to grow. There is a lack of access to fresh vegetables and fruit in many neighborhoods we athletes comes from. Working with the youth gives us a chance to show them how to do something to make their own lives better. We teach them self-reliance.
Gardening requires patience and follow-through, two valuable traits. Community gardens are one way that residents have mobilized to beautify urban neighborhoods, improve access to fresh produce, and engage youth.
Qualitative case studies were conducted of two neighborhood-based community gardens with youth programs. Data collection included participant observation and in-depth interviews with adult gardeners and neighbors, youth, and community police officers.
Results suggest that the garden programs provided opportunities for constructive activities, contributions to the community, relationship and interpersonal skill development, informal social control, exploring cognitive and behavioral competence, and improved nutrition. Community gardens promoted developmental assets for involved youth while improving their access to and consumption of healthy foods (Department of Health Behavior & Health Education, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI).
Why fans and Alumni matter
Our project is about connecting communities with resources. That means that together athletes and fans and alumni can build gardens that feed people in our communities.
Talented people make a team great. Together we make gardens happen because of our volunteers. We have the greatest fans who come out and support. We find innovative ways to address public health issues and all of our different education and work backgrounds are making positive changes in Florida and Flint.