Trident United Way Announces Community Garden Initiative

In partnership with Clemson Extension and the USDA, Trident United Way will support the development of three new community gardens across the Tri-County.

North Charleston, SC- This week, Trident United Way celebrated the launch of its Community Garden Initiative (photos available here). In partnership with Clemson Extension and the USDA, Trident United Way has selected three applicant groups to build gardens in their communities. These groups were chosen by a selection committee comprised of volunteers from the community.

six individuals standing in a community garden talking with each otherAn important aspect of Trident United Way’s mission in supporting community health in the Tri-County is to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables in community spaces. We also work to increase education about where healthy foods come from and the health benefits of eating and preparing meals with fresh produce. To further this mission, technical assistance, infrastructure and supplies will be provided to the three community groups in partnership with Clemson Extension and the USDA. The three groups selected were:

  • Grace Impact Development Center in Berkeley County
  • Whipper Barony Neighborhood in Charleston County 
  • The Dorchester County Career and Technology School in Dorchester County

“We are very grateful to our friends at Clemson Extension who will be working with our community garden sites to train them on the best practices of community gardening and provide technical assistance throughout the year when our garden coordinators need support,” said Joseph Current, Trident United Way’s health program manager.  “In fact, each of our site coordinators will complete Clemson Extension’s Community Garden online training course over the next month to assist with garden planning, so they will all begin with a strong knowledge base to build the best possible gardens for their communities.”  

According to Feeding America, 515,350 South Carolinians are facing hunger, and of them, 141,110 are children. That means in SC, 1 in 8 children are food insecure. One major cause of food insecurity is the lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly in rural or more remote areas where grocery stores can be many miles away.

The American Journal of Public Health reports that community gardeners consumed fruits and vegetables 5.7 times per day, compared with home gardeners (4.6 times per day) and nongardeners (3.9 times per day). Moreover, 56% of community gardeners met national recommendations to consume fruits and vegetables at least 5 times per day, compared with 37% of home gardeners and 25% of nongardeners. The qualities intrinsic to community gardens make them a unique intervention that can narrow the divide between people and the places where food is grown and increase local opportunities to eat better. 

“Trident United Way is honored to support this important work and is grateful to the USDA for entrusting us with federal funds to find solutions to this issue,” said Trident United Way President and CEO DJ Hampton. “We are excited to watch as the gardens grow and progress over the next several months, and we look forward to seeing the impact they will have on those communities.”

Trident United Way is proud to provide each community garden site additional support through a partnership between six nonprofit organizations in the Tri-County with expertise in gardening, community gatherings and food distribution. These organizations are Lowcountry Food Bank, The Greenheart Project, Katie's Crops, GrowFood Carolina, Charleston Parks Conservancy and Fields to Families.

About Trident United Way -
Celebrating more than 77 years of service, Trident United Way is a catalyst for measurable community transformation in education, financial stability and health. In 2021 The Chronicle of Philanthropy once again voted United Way as America’s favorite charity