Eight community gardens in the Inland Empire, including one with a fish component, are producing fresh fruits and vegetables for those who are struggling with food insecurity. Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) has been supporting these gardens for the past year through close collaboration with neighbourhood partners, including an innovative partnership with Music Changing Lives (MCL) Chief Executive Officer Josiah Bruny to introduce a new community garden to San Bernardino.
Every fourth Sunday of the month, the garden hosts Soulful Sunday celebrations when locals are welcome to stop by for gardening courses, different volunteer opportunities, music, food, and more. On MCL’s Facebook page, you may find details on events for Soulful Sunday. The fact that this project is entirely community-led is its best feature, according to Bruny. “Together, we can spread more love around the area and to those who most need it. We anticipate improving as we work to make the Inland Empire a better environment for everyone.”
In addition to giving financial support, IEHP helps the garden by recruiting volunteers through its Helping Hearts programme for team members and Health Education team. Alongside programme directors, volunteers help with weeding, tree planting, mulching, creating garden beds, and crop irrigation. “These gardens are growing and delivering a multitude of health possibilities to our neighbours,” said IEHP Senior Community Health Director Cesar Armendariz. “They do this through the appropriate collaborations, compassion and drive to heal and inspire the human spirit.” We are grateful for Music Changing Lives’ love of the Inland Empire and its residents and look forward to the organization’s continued planting and harvesting of further gardens for the benefit of the local population.