Healing Point is a community greenhouse project put together by the Rapha Clinic of West Georgia & Waypoint Ranch to provide sustainable food access.
Why do we need Healing Point?
- There are approximately 75,000 uninsured adults in our service area comprising 17% of the total population.
- High diabetes, hypertension, and obesity rates are present and growing.
- Type II diabetes, a disease that evidence-based medicine says can be treated and reversed with diet and lifestyle change, affects 1 out of 12 of our citizens.
- Carroll, Haralson, and Heard counties have been classified as USDA food desert regions.
What is a food desert?
Food deserts are regions where it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
Food insecurity has a high correlation with increased diabetes rates. The death rate from diabetes in a food desert is twice the rate of other areas.
With limited options, many people living in food deserts get meals from fast-food restaurants or convenience stores. When you fill up on low nutrient level foods, you are not filling up on the ones that aid in building the body’s systems.
Our neighbors, many times, do not have the transportation to access establishments that sell healthier food such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Food access is not simply a health issue, but also a community development and equity issue. For this reason, access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food is a key component not only in a healthy, sustainable food system, but also in a healthy sustainable community.
The BIG Picture
is that we can make a difference in the lives of our clinic patients and the community by specific evidence-based health and wellness programming. The need for healthier, nutritious, and less-traveled food is paramount. For long-term health gains, we must also have the access to nutrient-dense food in our area.
Now, the solution:
Healing Point Community Greenhouse
Together, Rapha Clinic & Waypoint Ranch want to empower the under-served consumers and patients to make better food choices by increasing affordable and local access to health produce. At Healing Point, nutrient-dense food will be grown in a vertical farming approach.
Rapha Clinic’s leadership has explored alternative farming methods for years and has consulted internationally in community development efforts. They have unique experience and training to develop food systems to bring produce to the local market.
Year One Milestones (August 2019):
- High tunnel 24 x 36 foot greenhouse is in place, and we are fine-tuning with weather, hear, and soon-to-be cooler temperatures.
- A business incubator was moved up from year 3 to year 1 as interest from the community overwhelmed us. A wholesale edible nursery is now in place, and will be added to each year. Over 1,000 plants are inside and more outside. We now have the relationship to resupply as needed thanks to a growing number of volunteers. It it is a fruit or a nut, we want the community to know we have it or can get it.
- An educational hydroponic rack and wall were built and ready as we will have crops coming in the next 60 days.
- Due to a leveraging of the CFWG grant with another smaller grant, we now have 4 raised bed garden areas at Rapha Clinic where tomatoes, peppers, and various herbs are bountiful. A blueberry and fig patch will be put in place by another grant.
- A community workshop was held for garden and plant enthusiasts who were interested in growing in their backyard. Alternative methods of growing were taught, and basic principles of square foot gardening were taught using a cubic fabric bag.
- Propagation techniques were given at Waypoint and are applied almost weekly. An apple tree grating class is developing for the fall, and a monthly program is set for next spring with a certificate program for veterans and for the community at large.
- Research is complete for a small fruit & berry u pick/orchard and we will put in place this fall at Waypoint Ranch. Smaller hydroponic racks will be added to the greenhouse later in the year for veteran production.
- Outside, wholesale accounts are in place and future orders are being taken for next spring already from veteran and clinic communities. Local accounts are picking up regularly now.
- Relationships have been forged with local farming and food production specialists for a future facility at RCWG. A 42 x 128 food production facility is awaiting concrete work. Bids are being taken through August. Once poured, there will be construction hopefully by winter.
- FVRX Programs are ready when production is enough to roll out for chronic care patients.
- Barriers for treatment were lowered throughout the year and trust is growing for brighter futures.
- Lots of opportunities for relationship building and community collaboration.
How can I help?
Donate today to this amazing project using the form below, or volunteer your time by clicking here.