Free healthy food program strengthens community

The Harvest Hope Garden in the University area of Tampa is a place where kids and adults in the community can learn how to grow and prepare their food.

"[We're] showcasing how you can use all five senses to cook and how at a young age you can still be engaged with the kitchen, and setting someone up for success when it comes to not only feeding their stomachs, but also their mind, their body, and their soul," said Dhalia Bumbaca, the CEO of Wellfed Community.

During this free class, kids learn how to use what they grow in the garden to make a healthy snack. 

"We try to go with no-heat recipes. Our goal with that is that we don't want it to be something that they can't come home from school and prepare on their own," said Bumbaca.

"It makes me happy," said 7-year-old Zaiden Blake. "Me [sic] and my siblings can make food for my own family."

"I get to plant in here and eat the strawberries and I really like growing the ingredients to make soup and stuff," said 8-year-old KJ Jinkins.

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The program is part of the University Area Community Development Corporation, which is on a mission for positive change.

"We think it's really important to provide opportunities for area residents to come together to educate themselves. To learn and grow and create a sense of community efficacy that this community's missing. So, programs like this, not just kids but adults can come together, learn new skills and be able to make meaningful friendships along the way," said Sarah Combs, the University Area CDC CEO.

LINK: Click here for more information about the program.

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