Serrano Cosponsors Community Gardens Bill
The Bronx, NY – February 28, 2014 – Today, Congressman José E. Serrano announced that he had joined with several Congressional Democratic colleagues in their effort to bring dedicated federal funding and programming to community gardens across the nation using the AmeriCorps Program. Serrano became a original cosponsor of H.R. 4084, the “Community Gardening and Nutrition Act of 2014,” which would develop a new program to support community gardens. The bill, introduced by Rep. Alcee Hastings, is a bold federal effort to support community gardens and locally-based nutrition.
“Community gardens are an important educational and nutritional resource in the Bronx and other urban centers across the nation. They are also hugely popular among neighborhood residents,” said Congressman Serrano. “Across the country, they give communities a place to grow food, to get access to healthy fruits and vegetables, to learn, to connect with nature and with one another, and to get away from urban life. Our community has embraced them for years, and now I will be working to have the federal government get further involved in funding and supporting programs that benefit these great community resources.”
The Community Gardens and Nutrition Act of 2014 would establish a Community Gardens Pilot Program within AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), and would required VISTA volunteers to develop at least 40 initiatives in both urban and rural areas suffering from high rates of poverty. These initiatives would create new community gardens, as well as support and expand existing ones. The Community Gardens Pilot Program would emphasize community involvement, create new sources of healthy food, and teach basic nutrition.
“I believe this is the sort of community building that the federal government should be in the business of supporting,” added Serrano. “The benefits are so many, and the cost is so little. More importantly, our communities want help with their community garden resources, and what better partner in that effort could there be than AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers. I look forward to recruiting many more allies to support this bill and hope to see it passed in the near future."