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Program aims to end food insecurity: "We're really taking the space and moving it forward"

Longtime community garden is now a learning space for a program aiming to build healthier lifestyles where families can learn more about healthy eating.
Posted at 6:52 PM, May 28, 2024

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) - Eating healthier, living happier-- its what one program aims to do for undeserved communities without access to fresh produce. An organization is taking a space on 19th and N street from a community garden to a learning space where families can learn about public health.

  • City Sprouts maintained the community garden on 19th and N street
  • Latino Center of the Midlands hopes to re-instate a community garden
  • The garden beds will help feed produce to over 50 families
  • Video shows how the organization is upkeeping the South Omaha space


For nearly a decade, the space on 19th and N Street was a community garden

But now, it's a learning space for Latino Center of the Midland's Siembra Salud's internship program.

Robert Van Haute leads the program and says it's focus is public health.

"Our program is not where it's a one shot thing, it's where we really try to instill some lasting habits and understandings of health," said Haute.

The goal is to increase access to fresh produce for undeserved communities, primarily those who only speak Spanish.

"It's the knowledge accessible; A lot of the families are very, very grateful that they can speak their own language as their learning because we have a lot of resources out there in Omaha," said program's intern coordinator Daniel Montes.

The family of Daniel Montes is originally from Mexico and when they moved to Omaha, their home was contaminated with lead.

He wants to take his passion for the environment and how it impacts health to another level.

"So we have to be careful about what we plant and that's also what we teach here that the families need to be really careful about the things that are in the ground and how to take care of themselves and their family," said Montes.

He joined as an intern working in a smaller space, but now he and other interns will oversee over 20 over-the-ground garden beds.

"I really like public health, I really like talking with the people but then I also really like the environment and really like involving that into public health," said Montes.

The goal? Exceeding last year's production, which was almost 15,000 pounds of fresh produce.

The center's spokesman Van Haute says with more space, it's possible.

"We're really taking the space and moving it forward. We've done a lot of things, we've picked up a lot of trash, we've really cleaned it up and made it something that people can be proud of in the neighborhood," said Van Haute.

Interns who complete the program will have the opportunity to further their education and eventually attain a certified nursing certification.

Down the line, the center hopes to purpose some of it's garden to be open for the public.