“Newport is a food desert,” states Monica Remmy, a graduate student in NKU’s Master of Public Administration program. “It is a thirty minute walk from the low income neighborhoods in Newport to the closest large grocery chain that accepts both WIC and SNAP, and carries a regular stock of fresh produce.”
Nutritional Poverty is a lack of: awareness of, understanding of, or access to quality nutrition, specifically fresh fruits and vegetables.
Monica was determined to find a way to provide a resource for nutritional food to the poor people in that area. She found a strong partner and advocate in Karen Yates, executive director of the Hosea House. The Hosea House is the only soup kitchen in Northern Kentucky to serve a meal in the evenings seven days a week. They serve around 150 to 300 every day.
Together Monica and Karen began to develop some ideas to address the issue. Monica applied for a $35,000 grant from the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati for a Nutritional Poverty research project including starting garden on a plot of land adjacent to the Hosea House in Newport.
With the funding in place, Monica set about building a coalition of agencies for the other resources needed for the project. The Greater Cincinnati Civic Garden Center’s Community Garden Development Training program, community groups, and friends provided the labor through a series of volunteer days.
Monica also received monies from the Mayerson Student Philanthropy Project. Every semester selected courses at NKU are named Mayerson courses. They are given a sum of money, and are asked to evaluate nonprofits and then invest in those they think will make the most effective use of the funds. The Hosea House Garden was the only recipient of multiple awards in 2013 and received $4,000 of the total $18,000 awarded. The funds will go to build a fence and purchase additional supplies and tools.
“I came to NKU to study for Master of Public Administration because I had a plan, a rough plan to end Nutritional Poverty and I knew NKU could help me develop the tools I need,” Monica said. Courses in grant writing and managing volunteers that are part of the MPA curriculum gave Monica many of the skills she needed to start this project. “This garden is the first of many I plan to start in Newport.”
In addition to her graduate studies at NKU and managing the Hosea House Garden, Monica is also the Volunteer Manager for Family Promise of Northern Kentucky.