PRESS RELEASE -First Lady Michelle Obama’s Book Features Camden Gardens (DOWNLOAD PDF) (and/or see below release text and links)
ABC NEWS REPORTS FROM CAMDEN COMMUNITY GARDENS! – Watch Action News 6 reporting with Camden City Garden Club, featured in First Lady Obama’s Book!
(Camden, N.J. / Washington, D.C – June 13, 2012) We are honored to announce First Lady Michelle Obama’s book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, features the Camden Children’s Garden (CCG), Camden City Garden Club, Inc (CCGC) and Camden’s Community Garden’s Program. The book was released May 2012, and highlights the White House Garden and approximately a dozen gardens throughout the nation. On two powerful pages (photo left), readers learn about the CCG, the CCGC, 28 years of Community Gardening and Nutrition Education in the City of Camden, NJ. The book tells the story of Camden – a city rebuilding itself from “Poorest, Most Dangerous US City of Its Size and Top 9 US Food Deserts”.
- DOWNLOAD on Garden Blog – FIRST LADY’S BOOK Pages About Camden
- DOWNLOAD on Garden Blog ~ PRESS RELEASE – First Lady’s Book & Camden Gardens
Through Mrs. Obama’s passion for gardening, American Grown tells the stories from across the country of community gardens bringing greater hope and health into urban neighborhoods. Mrs. Obama’s book highlights gardening project models, such as the CCGC’s Community Gardening Program, that are demonstrating the positive change that growing food can make. Many of the programs covered exemplify longstanding, successful models that could be duplicated in other communities. The book emphasizes Camden’s community gardens as source of, not only beautifying in some of Camden’s 12,000 abandoned lots, but these food-producing plots have enabled community members to galvanize in nourishing themselves. In Camden, gardening is a viable source of healthy food at low costs through CCGC’s guided Community Gardening Program to help residents to clean city’s vacant lots, to create community gardens and maintain sustainable food systems.
The First Lady’s book helps to profile some of CCGC/CCG’s most prominent recent milestones, such as Camden’s incredible growth in food production, as analyzed in a University of Pennsylvania Study. This study found that “Camden, NJ, has perhaps the Fastest Growing Community Gardening Program in the Nation”. Since the study was completed in 2009, Camden has tripled their number of community gardens. The UPENN’s Study Harvest Report stated, “Camden consistently ranks among the poorest and most violent cities in the United States, a stark example of urban decline, social and political economic crisis, and consequently food insecurity. Both because of this and despite this, Camden is also a leading center of community gardening in the United States.” For 28 years, the CCGC’s Community Gardening Program has been growing exponentially in number of community gardens and food production.
EXPONENTIAL GROWTH OF GARDENS AND FOOD SECURITY!
In 2008, when the economic downturn hit Camden very hard, the CCGC answered Camden’s call for healthy, inexpensive food. Since the CCGC has had a continuous waiting list of 25 + organizations rrequesting community gardens.
DOWNLOAD on Garden Blog – FIRST LADY’S BOOK Pages About Camden
Having the White House pushing gardening and anti-obesity initiative nationally has been very helpful to increase awareness and enthusiasm for gardening and nutrition. In fact, in the last three years alone, the number of community gardens in Camden has grown exponentially – Camden has annually added 25-30 new community gardens throughout the city. Today, Camden has an ever-growing total of 120 community gardens. In addition, the CCGC has almost 100 Club members with kitchen/backyard gardens, where individuals and families can benefit from CCGC membership’s seasonal supply of starter plants, compost, tools and green advice for gardeners. 100% of gardeners sampled in the Penn Study said that they grow a surplus of food, in addition to feeding their families. According to this information and Penn’s updated research, it is evident that more than 12% of Camden residents are being fed (as of release date) by the CCGC’s Community Gardens Program.DOWNLOAD Michelle Obama’s Book Pages with Camden Children’s Garden inclusion (American Grown - pages 134-135)
ANTI-OBESITY FROM THE WHITE HOUSE…TO CAMDEN….
From the Camden Children’s Garden, CCGC, operates
programs similar to those promoted in Mrs. Obama’s book and her Let’s Move
Campaign. Camden families learn to eat healthy and live active lifestyles while enjoying nature. The United States’ largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and healthcare, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), committed to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015
. To further implement this movement and fight the national epidemic of childhood obesity, the CCGC’s Community Gardening Program was chosen in 2009 as a recipient of a grant to implement the RWJF Faith-Based Initiative to Reverse the Childhood Obesity Epidemic. Due to the CCGC’s immense growth and strides in fighting childhood obesity in Camden, the CCGC’s Community Garden Program grabbed the attention of the White House Food Policy Advisor Chef Sam Kass. Like the White House initiatives, the CCGC helps to provide families with the tools and info needed to make best choices for healthy families in today’s world.
Mike Devlin, CCGC President/CCG Executive Director
, is very excited about Camden’s being included in American Grown and the fight against hunger and obesity nationwide. “First Lady Michelle Obama’s work at the White House Garden and across the nation through Let’s Move
, is very valuable in providing greater credibility to community gardening with the people of Camden, NJ. Many here are now following Mrs. Obama’s example, becoming more self-sustainable and health-conscious.”
WHY CAMDEN?….AT-RISK FAMILIES
- Camden, NJ is a Low-Income Urban Environment - Readers of American Grown, will catch a glimpse of the powerthat community gardening has to bring impoverished urban families and communities together in healthy sustainability. In a city where most live 200% below the poverty line, families are growing their own food to fight hunger and obesity.
- According to the USDA, Camden, NJ = TOP 9 US FOOD DESERTS and for 80,000 residents, Camden only has 1 full-service grocery store located on the outskirts of the city.
- Camden, NJ Obesity Rates and Health Risks are Among Top in US, according tothe NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids Study. Like in many impoverished urban areas, Camden children are more likely to be obese. The Camden, NJ study based on the household survey, school body mass index (BMI) data, and food and physical activity environment data. The majority of Camden children do not meet recommendations for vegetable consumption and do not meet the guidelines for being physically active. Parents shopping Camden, report limited availability of fresh produce and low-fat items. Almost half of the families do not shop in their neighborhood due to cost, quality and lack of neighborhood stores. READ MORE on Garden Blog – Camden’s Childhood Obesity and Health Risks in US Top.
A NATION IN SUPPORT OF A FOOD MOVEMENT
There is a growing number of organizations becoming more and more interested in this movement in Camden and nationally. Camden’s Community Gardening Program would not be possible without support of grant donors. In addition to the nation government, many private donors and corporations are joining in the movement. Despite the 100% Budget Cut by New Jersey’s Christie Administration, the CCGC and its programs have survived and thrived. Funding and national advancement from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, William Penn Foundation and Campbell Soup Foundation has been instrumental in furthering CCGC’s Programs. In addition, our work is also funded by the generous donors such as, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Schumann Fund for New Jersey, Hamilton Family Foundation, Merck Family Fund, Subaru Foundation and many more private supporters. In addition, many other high-profile leaders have taken up the cause, such as celebrities, chefs, government officials, and of course the First Lady of the United States.
Through American Grown and her programs, First Lady Michelle Obama hopes to address food security and obesity problems by restructuring food systems – especially in underserved communities. Some national support is making its way to cities like Camden through the U.S. Department of Education.
Nation’s Gardening Projects and Models Profiled in American Grown
In addition to the CCGC / CCG, Mrs. Obama’s book highlights about a dozen other gardens throughout the nation. Projects included are City Gardens in Houston, TX; The Readington Community Garden in Readington Township, NJ; P-Patch in Seattle, WA, Rainbow Beach Park in Chicago, IL; Gardens of Service in Winston-Salem, NC; Will Allen’s Growing Power project in Chicago, IL; MA’O Organic Farms in Waianae, HI, and New Roots Community Farm in San Diego, CA. Two school gardens from Brooklyn are also profiled.
ABOUT First Lady’s Book, American Grown: Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America
In American Grown, by Crown Publishing, First Lady Michelle Obama explores how increased access to healthful, affordable food can promote better eating habits and improve health for families and communities across America. American Grown will be inspirational and instructive and will provide ideas for readers to get involved and join the movement to create community gardens, support local farmers markets, create school gardens, and start urban gardens, as well as other ways that they can make small changes to achieve big results and create healthy eating habits. American Grown will address the epidemic of childhood obesity by empowering parents and caregivers with information, improving food quality in schools, increasing access to healthy, affordable food, and encouraging increased physical activity. It will also include practical ideas, recipes, and resources as well as tips on how to begin a garden of any size, anywhere and how to support local farmers’ markets. Filled with gorgeous full-color photography, American Grown will include stunning photos of the White House garden and Mrs. Obama throughout the seasons, as well as other community and school gardens from around the country. < Excerpt Taken from American Grown Facebook Page.
Of course there are a growing number of reviews, but be your own critic and buy the book at www.randomhouse.com/crown and tell them that the Camden Children’s Garden sent you! CCG will soon be selling book! Bon Appétit!
Media Coverage About American Grown Book:
FOR MORE INFORMATION AND/OR UPDATES ON THIS STORY, TO PURCHASE BOOK FROM CCG, STAY TUNED
READ MORE on Garden Blog – FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA’S BOOK Features Camden Community Gardens!
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The Camden City Garden Club, Inc. (CCGC), is a non-profit (501)(c)(3) environmental and educational organization that has been greening, beautifying and helping to feed the people of Camden, NJ, for 28 years through the Community Gardening Program. Founded by Mike Devlin and his wife Valerie Frick, the organization soon expanded to include a variety of community-enhancing programs, such as GrowLab which offers hands-on nutrition and horticulture education to Camden students in their classrooms for 23 years. The Youth Employment and Job Training Program completed its 18th successful year, giving Camden’s At-Risk teens the opportunity to earn an income while gaining skills and mentoring city school children. This program gives Camden’s future leaders job experience through community service. Since 1999, the CCGC has operated the South Jersey favorite oasis for families, the Camden Children’s Garden (CCG). This whimsical 4.5 acre horticultural playground serves as an education center, tourist destination, a safe haven for Camden families and the hub of all CCGC programs.
CAMDEN CHILDREN’S GARDEN / CAMDEN CITY GARDEN CLUB:
~ Mike Devlin, Executive Director 856-365-8733, email@example.com
~ Tracy Tomchik Nyszczot, Public Relations Consultant (PPbyTT), 856-365-8733, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CROWN PUBLISHING GROUP:
~ The Crown Publishing Group, A Division of Random House, Inc. 212-782-9000