It is our belief that food and water are the cornerstone for the foundation of change in all areas of the world. What can any human do to instill awareness and action for injustice if their bellies are not full and their bodies are not nourished? According to The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “a food desert is an area that has either a poverty rate greater than or equal to 20% or a median family income not exceeding 80% of the median family income in urban areas, or 80% of the statewide median family income in nonurban areas. In order to qualify as a food desert, an area must also meet certain other criteria. In urban areas, at least 500 people or 33% of the population must live more than 1 mile from the nearest large grocery store. In rural areas, at least 500 people or 33% of the population must live more than 10 miles from the nearest large grocery store.”

Approximately 39.5 mil­lion peo­ple (12.8% of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion) were liv­ing in low-income and low-access areas, accord­ing to the USDA’s most recent food access research report, pub­lished in 2017, with an increasing rate in recent years, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that in 2021, 1 in 8 Texans are experiencing lack of access to healthy affordable food, being affected greatly by racial disparity according to the CDC, where Black, Indigenous and Latino households experience food insecurity at higher rates. And as it turns out, “food grown on a conventional farm has a much larger carbon footprint than food grown in a greenhouse, because greenhouses can be built in all sorts of climates and geographies, eliminating the need for produce to be transported long distances (and the carbon emissions associated with such transports). In summary, greenhouse growing is a more sustainable method of food production than conventional farming, but it still requires resources and investment.” 

 

That’s where my company comes in. Utilizing funds from 20% of all profits that Peach and Poe Co. is associated with, along with donations from our followers, and funds allocated through grant applications, it is our plan to begin the construction, production and upkeep of greenhouses used solely for the purpose of improving the current lives and future ambitions of impoverished youth in food desert areas. Starting locally in Houston, Texas (where it’s estimated that over 500,000 residents have lack of access to healthy and affordable food) within the next one to two years, and branching out to construct and maintain 5-10 food desert greenhouses throughout the Southwest region within the next five years. 

We also hope to begin the Creating Hearts of Gold application based scholarship opportunity for a high school junior in an underprivileged community who has an interest in Horticulture. The chosen student would receive $5,000 to use toward college expenses as well the opportunity to provide upkeep the greenhouse for a summer.

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The Hearts of Gold Project is dedicated to Theresa Carmody. Theresa dedicated her life to advocating for Native American Peoples all over the United States who have had their land illegally taken from them, and worked with different Indigenous tribes to regain what is rightfully theirs. She was also dedicated to the preservation of the planet, human rights for all, mental health awareness, and providing food prosperity in her small community. She taught about living off of the Earth, treating everyone with kindness, and has inspired many to use their talents and abilities to advocate for change and create resources for different communities in need. 

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Theresa began the Wagon Mound Development Fund, which was a  non-profit project that sought funding to build a greenhouse that provided fresh vegetables free of charge to the local school and low income housing located in Wagon Mound, New Mexico. This small northern village, with a population of less than 300 and  a prime example of a food desert area, lacks access to healthy, affordable food (and affordable food in general). The residents of this town live solely off of two gas stations where a gallon of milk is commonly $9, with a 30-40 mile radius to the nearest grocery store.  Even in the age of home delivery, access to healthy food and many other resources is greatly limited for the occupants of these types of areas, especially for the children who have even less options than adults.