With Growing Community Garden Initiative, Teen Tackles Hunger and Obesity in Missouri
Sophie Bernstein always wanted to grow her own garden. At 12 years old, she was looking for a meaningful project to complete for her bat mitzvah – something that would serve a larger purpose and help the community. Sophie realized she had the perfect opportunity to start her garden, while also benefitting others by donating the crops that her garden produced to the local food bank. She had no idea where that project would take her.
After delivering her first harvest of fruits and vegetables to the food bank, Sophie was surprised by the absence of produce available to shoppers. Many of the shelves were stocked with items like potato chips, candy and sodas. Sophie took some time to educate herself on the prevalence of hunger and obesity in her home state of Missouri—finding that is the state has a high rate of childhood and adult obesity, as well as a high rate of families that have a hard time providing healthy options for their children. She realized she could make a difference by promoting healthier choices at food banks.
Since starting the garden in 2012, Sophie’s efforts have broadened exponentially. What started as one garden eventually grew into an entire movement, called Grow Healthy, which now includes 35 gardens and more than 750 volunteers.