Big Green and Live Healthy Miami Gardens
In 2022, Big Green received a funding opportunity to bring our resources to the Miami area. During our extensive research and discovery process we had the opportunity to connect with Live Healthy Miami Gardens.
Live Healthy Miami Gardens (LHMG) is an initiative of the City of Miami Gardens, made up of a coalition of 46 member organizations and over 100 individuals, working collectively to drive citywide changes that measurably improve the health and life expectancy of people in the city. Miami Gardens is the third largest city in Miami Dade County and has the largest African American population in the state.
A key aspect of LHMG’s work is a community informed action plan that drives their strategy. During our discovery process we learned that the community had requested (and was ripe and ready for!) an initiative to support residents to grow their own food but LHMG did not yet have the resources to support such a project. This provided an amazing opportunity for Big Green to add value within the community and help LHMG meet their goals through our Million Gardens program, by providing home and community garden beds, materials, and educational programming for residents, alongside a grant to LHMG to support program operations. Thus formed our partnership.
Fast forward to today, and the Million Gardens program has been wildly successful in supporting more residents in the City of Miami Gardens to learn to grow their own food, connect to healthy food, and build community through growing. Starting with a distribution of 100 garden beds to residents and 20 garden beds to community centers in 2022, in 2023 we have collaborated to distribute 100 more beds due to community interest and demand. Alongside these physical resources, LHMG has been able to support regular educational programming for residents in the program through a master gardener based in the community.
An important learning from this partnership that we hope to implement in other places is the opportunity to work with a city initiative that is focused on addressing social determinants of health and the added value that Big Green can contribute to a stated community need through the Million Gardens program, making growing food more accessible within a community.