American Health Ambitions”

Lessons from communities on a journey to better health

In the American Health Ambitions series, we tell the stories of four American cities where people are striving toward reaching their health goals — with the help of some amazing local organizations. Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Houston are the canvasses on which these health stories come to life. With programs tackling issues ranging from fitness and nutrition to community and family health, we joined Aetna to showcase how people are joining together to help their communities live healthier lives.

Find more inspiration from Aetna on how to achieve your health ambitions at

atlanta panorama
atlanta Video

After Harvey: How one nonprofit stayed strong for Houston's youth

Staying Healthy after Harvey

Even before Hurricane Harvey, Houston had a pressing need to improve the health and wellness of its citizens. Now, local nonprofits are working even harder to resume programming that helps keep people healthy as Houstonians put their lives back together, post-storm.

The saying is that everything is bigger in Texas, and nowhere is that more evident than the state's largest city, Houston. At roughly 8,778-square miles, the Greater Houston metropolitan area is larger than the entire state of New Jersey. So, even in the best of times, geography creates a steep road for Houstonians who are trying to get healthy in a car-centric city. “You hear it all the time: ‘Go walk,'” says Dr. Dan O'Connor, head of the Health and Human Performance Center at the University of Houston. “But what if you live on a road that doesn't have sidewalks, with a 45 to 50 mile an hour speed limit, and there's poor traffic control?”

Yet another obstacle: The nation's fourth-largest city is also known for its extreme heat, and tropical storms and hurricanes that surface each year. “In other states, the challenge to staying active is withstanding the cold,” O'Connor says. “But here in Houston, it's the heat. It's really hot from May through October.”

But even weather-hardened Houstonians weren't prepared for the devastation when Hurricane Harvey dumped 52 inches of rain (a staggering 27 trillion gallons of water) on the Texas coastline in August and September of 2017. As the people of Houston now work to put their lives back together after the storm, staying healthy has become an even bigger issue. Concerning problems from the extreme psychological stress of lives, cars and homes lost to Harvey, to a sharp increase in mold and pathogens in the environment — which doctors say has caused an increase in respiratory infections — are just a few. These harmful factors mean that immune-system-boosting activity, such as regular exercise, is more important than ever.

Some exceptional nonprofit organizations in Houston are rising to the challenge and have doubled down on their mission to keep Houston healthy.

We never lost faith, but we had no idea this was coming.
—Kenneth Sams, Head of Community Development for AFC

photo location

A Beacon of Hope and Health

The low-income residents of Houston are the most impacted by the city's healthcare challenges — both pre-existing and from the hurricane. But Houston-based nonprofits are stepping in to offer a path to fitness. For example, the Ambassadors for Christ (AFC) Youth Ministries — a group that receives grant support from the Aetna Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. — uses a systemic, mind-body approach to overall wellness. AFC engages Houston kids with programming that includes classroom activities, digital learning, physical fitness, artistic performance camps, and field trips to grocery stores and restaurants.

Sherrie Sams, AFC's founding executive director, views the sports and fitness programs as a safe haven for at-risk kids and those in dangerous neighborhoods: “Every child is full of energy; they just need a safe platform and haven to release that energy.”

Kayla Preston, 13, is one of many success stories at AFC. Preston says AFC has changed her life and habits — in a way that is fun.

“I love all the physical activities — the races, the dodge ball, the friendly competition,” she says. “But I also love learning how to read labels, how to cook and eat healthier.”

The group was dealt a devastating blow during Harvey, when the AFC Drop-In and Resource Center was flooded. The loss of the center could mean kids going without meal programs, after-school programs, camps, and even college recruiter meetings. “They lose a lot when we're not functioning,” says Sams. “These kids are trying to stay out of trouble.” Sams says she and her staff were heartened to see that just days after the storm, as the waters receded, they returned to the center to find eight young boys waiting for it to open. “These boys were waiting to clean up, and have since helped in recovery,” she says. “Seeing them definitely reaffirmed our mission statement,” says Sams of the group's objective, which is in part to “inspire excellence and promote leadership to youth.”

Soon after Harvey swept through Houston, Sherrie and her husband, Kenneth Sams, who is AFC's head of community development, share how the Aetna Foundation donated $20,000 to help get the Drop-In Center running again. “We were on a Skype call when they surprised us with this gift,” says Kenneth Sams. When they gave us that news, I had tears in my eyes. I can't wait to get back to work, and neither can the kids.”

He says the money will not only restore and re-purpose the Drop-In Center from ground-up, but it will resume crucial kids programming that has been halted — something that he previously thought could take a year. “We never lost faith, but we had no idea this was coming.”

Many Houston kids, including Kayla Preston, are anticipating getting back to normal. “I can't wait to get out of the house and back to the competitions and games — and the health classes,” she says.

The Can-Do Spirit

Another organization creating change at the grassroots level — also impacted by Harvey — is CAN DO Houston. The group's executive director, Dr. Jasmine Opusunju, says CAN DO instills lasting community development by creating participants, rather than recipients.

“I have found that communities are tremendous experts on what they're experiencing — not us,” she says.

CAN DO Houston partners with area groups to offer fitness camps, classes, and youth programs to combat childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Opusunju says that after Harvey, it took about a week to resume sessions for CAN DO's Let's Move initiative — a family-oriented, community fitness program that takes place at Magnolia Park (in Houston's East End). But once the sessions were back on, residents flocked to participate. And CAN DO's food fairs have continued, as well as the Healthy Corner Stores programming, in the midst of post-storm recovery.

Houston Strong

As Houston began the process of rebuilding, a phrase and social media hashtag emerged: #HoustonStrong. A living symbol of that recovery is Buffalo Bayou Park (BBP), Houston's original port and native waterway. A 160-acre public greenspace, BBP offers year-round biking, canoeing, kayaking, yoga, wellness walks, and fitness “boot camps.” There are even public art installations. Houstonians flock to the park in part to escape cell phones and screen time.

During the storm, BBP became a churning waterway. For weeks after Harvey, the bottom two-thirds of the park was still underwater; entire trees were submerged. And while Houstonians could be seen immediately returning to the upper trails to walk and jog, crews are still at work removing an extensive amount of sediment, cutting fallen trees, and picking up trash. But while the park is only partly operational, BBP president, Anne Olson, says the public greenspace is a source of urban restoration and healing for a stressed city. “In addition to being a place where people can get out and exercise and clear their minds, Buffalo Bayou Park continues to be a place where people from all walks of life are coming together,” says Olson. “The park is definitely a great civic unifier. And our city needs this more than ever.”

As Houston continues its recovery, the ongoing impact on the city will be emotionally taxing, says Dr. Dan O'Connor. But having the support of the community and dedicated organizations are going to make all the difference in ensuring healthy outcomes.

“This storm has been hard on everyone across the board,” says O'Connor, “But if you have more resources to manage it, you may be able to recover to a less stressful state more quickly.”

Learn more about how to talk to your children about natural disasters on

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Aysha's story: Learning to live healthy as a teenage mom

Four Atlanta Families, Staying Strong

The Big A has a long history of community support. Here we profile families who are staying healthy, thanks to a helping hand from some exceptional organizations.

It's fair to say that most people care about getting and staying healthy, yet the reality is that tens of millions of Americans currently suffer from preventable conditions. And for the first time in history, today's children are in danger of living less healthy lives than the generation before them.

In addition to practicing healthy behaviors — proper sleep, good nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management — there is a definitive link between family support systems and wellness. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health found that “social and emotional support from others can be protective for [one's] health,” proving that overall wellness is comprised of more than just the physical. Our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being — including the environment and community in which we live – all impact our health.

You hear different stories that actually inspire you to do better.
—Aysha Thomas


Community Support Serves as the Backbone to Family Strength

In Atlanta, trusted organizations have been serving the city for decades to help its residents understand the connection between strong communities and healthy living. One of the longest-running programs, Families First, has offered a spectrum of programs designed to strengthen and empower families at various stages of life, finding solutions to the complexities of their situations for over 120 years. The group is a community partner of Aetna, which supports the Atlanta-based organization with grants and sponsorships for programming that offers foster care and adoption services, parenting classes for teenage mothers, supportive housing, literacy improvement, financial education, and anger management courses. The work of Families First has helped some of Atlanta's most vulnerable families become self-sufficient, impacting some 37,000 women, children, and families in just the past year.

A variety of support organizations in Atlanta serve families with diverse and specialized needs to help them learn to lead healthier lives. Project GRANDD, for example, serves an underreported population of children who receive full-time care from a relative, helping people maintain their health by providing access to nutritionists, doctors, and nurse practitioners, as well as arming individuals with educational resources and information that can last a lifetime.

Both Families First and Project GRANDD are helping to make Atlanta stronger and healthier. As proof of this, here are the stories of four Atlanta families who are striving to stay healthy and happy thanks to the support from these organizations.

An Early Start to Healthy Habits

Nathalie Martinez gushed about her four-year-old, Jona. “He's so smart. I just want him to have what we [she and her husband] both couldn't have. So, we try to give him the world,” she says. Nathalie was 17 when she had Jona, and by that time had been in a relationship with her boyfriend for two years. This year, she and Jona's father celebrated four years of marriage.

Nkem Ijeh, a Healthy Start Coordinator at Families First, helped Nathalie transition from a high school student to a mother, empowering her to be healthy and strong for herself and her son. Nathalie explained, “Nkem stepped in the most when I found out I was pregnant. She was really my voice to go to.”

After getting pregnant, Nathalie became estranged from her father. Nkem was Nathalie's sounding board; she listened and provided tools to help her understand the changing dynamics of her relationship with her parents and starting her own family.

Today, at 22, Nathalie juggles being a wife and mother — and is expecting her second baby in the spring. Nkem is helping Nathalie stay on track with a healthy pregnancy by eating right and getting enough rest. “Juggling schoolwork, being a wife and mother, and trying to exercise is hard, so I try to eat healthy,” Nathalie says.

Staying Healthy Through Multiple Generations

For Deborah Wright, a grandmother's love has kept her family together. Deborah lives with her two grandchildren — sisters dealing with the challenges of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). And this family structure is somewhat common in Georgia: According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, over 250,000 grandparents in the state live with their grandchildren. For the past decade, Deborah has had custody of her two granddaughters: Imani, 12, and Ziykirra, 10.

Project GRANDD helps families like Deborah's with support in a variety of ways, offering services to grandparents raising grandchildren through education, case management, and food and clothing assistance.

The support groups from Project GRANDD have changed Deborah's life. “We learn something from these other grandparents [and what] they've been through that we can help ourselves with.”

Although Imani's ADHD diagnosis was tough on the family, things are changing for the better in school. Deborah says proudly, “Right now, she's having a very good year.” And Project GRANDD's social workers have allowed opportunities for Deborah and her granddaughters that otherwise wouldn't be an option. “We need something, and she just makes doors open for us,” Deborah said about one of the counselors at Project GRANDD.

Positive Perspective Fuels One Family

Mazin Suliman's world changed with a diagnosis. His mother, Angie, is disabled with a rare form of hypoglycemia – low blood sugar. She has undergone 13 surgeries in the past few years, and Mazin has supported her through each of them. At just 18, Mazin has had to grow up quickly, juggling the responsibilities of caring for his mother with housing insecurity issues and the persistent threat of homelessness. But the family's situation recently began to improve when Families First found them permanent housing through the Shelter-A-Family (SAF) program.

Mazin says the level of independence their house has provided helped them immensely. It shifted the outlook for his family. “When we got that house, oh, you should've seen her. Her spirits just lifted that day; she felt such relief to have a house of her own.”

In addition to support from Families First, Mazin's passion for the creative arts has contributed to his overall wellness. He's drawn to storytelling through writing and sketching, comics, and voice acting. Today, he looks toward the future, trying to be healthy for his mother. “I try my hardest to help her run the house — get her some food, pick up calls, and a lot of other things. And yes, it is hard, but I want to do right by her.”

Inspired to do Better

Aysha Thomas's family has been involved with Families First for almost 15 years. In 2004, her mother was involved in a program called Project G.R.O.W., a permanent housing and support services program, and Aysha was just 15 when she got pregnant with her son, Amorei. Now a junior in high school, Aysha, takes classes while three-year-old Amorei is in daycare on the same campus. “He's around kids close to his age and they have a curriculum where they paint and write their numbers and ABCs,” Aysha says.

While Aysha continues her own education, she's also learning how to make good choices for her family. She feels the responsibility and pressure of juggling her schoolwork while caring for Amorei, yet what's helped tremendously, she says, is the support from Families First. “You meet different people from different backgrounds and you all end up having a lot in common,” Aysha says. “You hear different stories that actually inspire you to do better.” Seeing a smile on Amorei's face also keeps her going.

“My favorite thing to do with him [Amorei] is going to the park. He loves the slide. He will go up the steps and down the slide a million times and still be ready to do it again.”

Support for health and wellness ambitions can come in many forms, but community is the common thread that serves as the foundation for the support that organizations like Families First and Project GRANDD offer – helping Atlanta get healthier, one family at a time.

For more inspiration on how to achieve your health ambitions, visit

Jacksonville panorama
Jacksonville Video

Gardening to a healthy future in Jacksonville

Creating an Oasis in Jacksonville's Food Deserts

Lack of access to fresh, healthy food is a prevalent issue in Northern Florida. But local organizations are working to improve outcomes in food-desert neighborhoods.

A middle-aged woman crosses paths with Jonathan Blackburn often enough for her to stand out to him. She walks briskly down the street and into Jonathan's field of vision as she passes his office. She is always alone and carrying too many grocery bags. Jonathan offers to walk with her. They soon get to where she lives — a high rise that has too many floors to carry all the bags up at once. The woman has made this long trip out of her neighborhood to a grocery store, miles away, countless times. Jonathan explains that it's a reality for tens of thousands of people in Jacksonville, Florida, living in food deserts and struggling with food insecurity.

“Food deserts are an entanglement of poverty,” Blackburn explains. “It's a health desert, a financial desert, and a mobility desert.”

Blackburn is the executive director of 2nd Mile Ministries, a community transformation organization in the Brentwood neighborhood of Jacksonville that is funded in part by the Aetna Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Through services such as daycare, leadership development, summer camps, and affordable housing support, the organization seeks to help the Northside of Jacksonville in tangible and practical ways. For example, the community garden 2nd Mile Ministries manages helps to meet the most basic needs of Brentwood neighbors.

“In communities like Brentwood, a lot of our neighbors are getting all of their food from local corner stores or convenience stores that rarely have a produce section or a deli, says Marc Nettleton, Director of Engagement for 2nd Mile Ministries. “A food desert is where reliable, convenient access to healthy food choices is not available within your community.”

In the Jacksonville area, we can support the local farms and help them be sustainable.
—David Dinkins

photo location

Food Deserts Defined

Food deserts, usually found in economically impoverished areas, are defined by their lack of whole foods, such as fruit and vegetables. Instead of grocery stores with produce sections, these areas are heavy on convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

According to the USDA Food Access Research Atlas, which reviews 2010 Census data, there are 29 areas designated as food deserts in Jacksonville. Within those 29 areas are 140,068 individuals living in 55,020 households. Of those, 25,360 are designated as low-income with limited access to food stores in their area. That means more than 18 percent of Jacksonville residents live in low-income areas and have limited access to healthy food options either because of distance to the nearest grocery store, affordability, or both.

Keeping It Local

David Dinkins, Putnam County Extension Director & Agriculture Agent for the University of Florida's Duval County Extension Office says that cost and selection are big issues within Jacksonville's food deserts. “Take the Moncrief Road area,” Dinkins says. “You see a lot of Mom and Pop stores, a lot of places selling blue crab, but they are small. Grocery stores have to offer something like 30 produce items. But all those stores right around the Moncrief Road area, they may have an apple or a banana at a dollar a piece, so they're three times as expensive as what it would cost [at a grocery store].”

Dinkins works directly with farmers in North and Central Florida to help them with production issues such as post-harvest handling, distribution, processing, and food waste. He explains that while the disparity of food options between socioeconomic classes has been a reality for millennia, it's only been in the last decade that the U.S. government has made combating food deserts part of public policy. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (also known as the 2008 U.S. Farm Bill) was the first to define food deserts and featured increased support for the production of cellulosic ethanol (biofuel produced from grasses, wood, algae, or other plants) and money for the research of pests, diseases, and other agricultural problems. It was a wide range of supportive measures aimed at creating more productive farms and more accessible nutritious food options.

“In the Jacksonville area, we can support the local farms and help them be sustainable,” Dinkins says. “Those farmers need to be supported by the large grocery retailers. The guys who are growing potatoes in Hastings, are those potatoes making it [to area grocery stores]? There are 6,000 acres of Asian vegetables being grown in the St. Johns County area. Are those making it into the stores?”

Creating the Oasis

Dinkins says he's hopeful that large convenience store chains and dollar stores in low-income areas will begin to add produce sections to their stores, but says it will take a combination of large-scale policy change and individual action on a grassroots level to make a difference.

“One thing consumers can do is go to your produce manager and ask if they're buying produce that is being grown locally,” Dinkins says. “Frankly, it would be a lot cheaper to buy it locally than having it shipped from California.”

But sometimes it's not just as simple as changing who you buy from, but rather wholesale changes on the part of convenience store owners in what they sell. And that's not always easy.

“Sometimes a produce truck won't come to an area or a store doesn't have the facilities or coolers,” Dinkins says. “In Orlando, I know people working in food deserts and they were able to convince several corner stores to take some of the beer products out and replace with fruits and vegetables.”

Nearly everyone working to serve food deserts and communities struggling with food insecurity agrees that there is a lot riding on this issue. Food deserts aren't a problem quarantined to specific pockets of certain neighborhoods. There are far-reaching consequences for communities of people who are food insecure.

“Duval County has one of the highest rates of food insecurity, and it's a ripple effect,” says Laurel Levy, Regional Director with Aetna. “You're going to see a very high rate of obesity, a prevalence of diabetes, and more. And if kids are not eating, they aren't going to be able to focus in school. Your workforce is going to be impacted long-term. Your health care system is going to be impacted. If individuals don't have access to food, they probably don't have access to health care as well.”

Levy adds that the school system is another important player in the nutrition equation of food desert neighborhoods. “We also have to look at our school systems and what's being offered there in terms of education, teaching proper nutrition, what to eat, and what to buy,” Levy says.

But for the team at 2nd Mile Ministries, solving the problem of food deserts means a holistic answer. It's not just about the food, but rather empowering young people with what they need: nutrition education, job skills, and more.

“We work to equip students with educational skills, relational skills, things like that,” Nettleton says. “That way, they have a better chance to find steady employment, afford a car, and ultimately be able to access grocery stores. Those systemic issues are hard to counter. But you can invest individually into students and hopefully change their future.”

For more inspiration on how to achieve your health ambitions, visit

Philadelphia Video

Growing healthy communities
in urban Philadelphia

Philadelphia's Healthy Food Heritage

Through America's tumultuous founding, two world wars, and numerous economic downturns, Philly has maintained a strong connection between the urban and the agrarian. Here we look at the history of agriculture in the City of Brotherly Love and how its farmers and farmers markets are bringing healthy food to neighborhoods that need it most.

As he walked around the Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia with his 1-year-old son in his arms, Alkebu-Lan Marcus, the farm's manager and interim director, points out various fruits and vegetables, some of which aren't common to Philadelphia.

Thanks to seedlings Mill Creek gets from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and seeds from the urban farmers at the historic Bartram's Garden in Southwest Philadelphia, the farm makes the most of its 1.5-acre plot at 49th and Brown streets. Visitors will find okra, kale, sweet potatoes, garlic, Swiss chard, black-eyed peas, turnips, string beans and heirloom tomatoes. The farm also grows a variety of fruit, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, Asian pears, apples, and peaches.

“You don't need all that much space,” Marcus says. “You can grow a ton of food in a small space if you keep the soil fertilized so that it keeps all of its nutrients.”

Run by the non-profit group A Little Taste of Everything, Mill Creek is just one of the many plots of land around Philly that has become an oasis in places that were once food deserts (in other words, communities that lack access to healthy food and/or are more than a mile from a large grocery store.) These urban farms are continuing the tradition of bringing healthy food to those who might not otherwise have access to it due to price or proximity. And that tradition, like almost everything in the City of Brotherly Love, goes back hundreds of years. (continued...)

Being able to grow your own food empowers people.
—Aunnalea Grove, Get HYPE Philly!

photo location

History From The Ground Up

Philadelphia's urban farm culture is rooted in practicality. In the late 1800s, a U.S. economic depression called The Panic of 1893 caused widespread turmoil and mass unemployment. According to the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, Philadelphia found itself with both vacant plots of land and masses without work. In 1897, the Philadelphia Vacant Lots Cultivation Association was formed to help the residents use the lots to start for-profit farms and earn a living. Once Philadelphians started tilling these farms, they were able to bring their crops to the farmer's markets, including the precursor to the Reading Terminal Market.

The association closed in 1928, but urban farming in Philadelphia remained. In fact, one of the nation's largest urban farms in Philly is in the form of a high school. The program that is now the W.B. Saul High School For Agricultural Sciences was started in 1943 by the School District of Philadelphia (formerly Victory Gardens) during the time of World War II. The 150-acre farm has everything from heirloom vegetables to dairy cows.

Flash forward to the 1970s, and economic downturn and a spike in crime led to urban decay and a return to vacant lots that persisted for over two decades. In response, the City of Philadelphia began an anti-blight program that yielded community gardens and new urban farms, many of which still exist today. And when cutbacks in city funding became a reality, non-profit organizations took the baton.

The New Urban Farmers

Riding along 11th Street in North Philadelphia on the SEPTA Route 23 bus, you can't miss Life Do Grow farm. This 2-acre farm, which is managed by the non-profit Philadelphia's Urban Creators, is a sprawling space near Temple University's main campus. The farm started seven years ago on what was once a dumping ground.

Farm manager and community organizer Kirtrina Baxter says that Life Do Grow has both found a better use for the land and continues the tradition of taking care of the neighborhood. They are creating healthier communities through food donations.

“We give a lot of food to people in the neighborhood,” Baxter says. “We work with a free breakfast program and give a lot of our produce away.”

The farm also participates in farmers markets and sells produce to restaurants to help fund its operation. In addition, other farms in Philadelphia have secured grant support from organizations such as the Aetna Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. (which helps by supplying a dedicated crew of volunteers and funding a small staff).

Many of these farms work with The Food Trust, a nationally recognized non-profit with a wide-reaching mission that encompasses neighborhood groups, grocery stores, and policymakers. The group's comprehensive plan connects people with healthy, affordable food. For example, its Get HYPE Philly! program provides young people with ways to help their communities and their classmates eat healthier. Aunnalea Grove, manager of Get HYPE Philly!, says that the organization has been able to help these farms with grants ranging from the mini-grant given to the Life Do Grow farm to a $10,000 grant to the Mill Creek Farm. The Aetna Foundation in Philadelphia also partners with The Food Trust to support these programs.

Plowing Ahead

Although urban farming has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance nationwide, it is not without its challenges. One of those is the availability of land. Unlike the issues that caused the Philadelphia Vacant Lots Association to shut its doors, the problem that urban farmers are finding now is that the land isn't always free and depending on where it is, can be very expensive. Zoning changes and redevelopment of land in rediscovered neighborhoods has presented a new challenge in keeping urban farms and gardens operating.

Another issue for urban farms is soil health. Contamination from lead and other toxins is a serious concern. Hilda Brown, a Rutgers University-trained Master Gardener, is a certified trainer who has worked with recovery communities and grassroots groups to help them create gardens and urban farms. She says one important step is getting to know the land.

“The first thing that you should do is a soil test,” Brown says. “If you're not sure what was going on with that property, that land might not be able to support what you're trying to grow.”

Although such challenges persist, the benefits are clear and far-reaching. Aunnalea Grove says the students she works with at Get HYPE Philly! are taught how to be agents of change in their communities. They learn a variety of skills ranging from healthy cooking and snacking, to community involvement and how to get ready for the workforce. They become leaders, Grove says, an experience that stays with them from the moment they pick up a trowel.

“Being able to grow your own food empowers people,” Grove says. “[Many of] these kids have never been on or worked on a farm. But once they get into the program, there's a transformation. They become advocates for healthy food in their neighborhoods. They fall in love with getting their hands dirty.”

As this passion brings more people into the fold, it grows the reach and power of these programs. And the sense of empowerment creates a new generation of people who will carry forward Philadelphia's urban agriculture tradition and help bring access to healthy foods to fellow residents, allowing for the realization of health goals.

For more inspiration on how to achieve your health ambitions, visit