Community Gardens Nourish with Food, Fish and Fellowship

·3 min read

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif., Aug. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Grown by the community, for the community, eight gardens across the Inland Empire – including one that involves fish – are providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables for neighbors facing food insecurity.

Inland Empire Health Plan leadership visited Music Changing Lives' Urban Community Garden in San Bernardino in early August. Pictured left to right: IEHP CEO Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Foundation President Angelica Baltazar, MCL Founder and CEO Josiah Bruny, IEHP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Takashi Wada, IEHP Vice President Innovation, Acceleration and Diversity Michael Deering, and IEHP Community Health Senior Director Cesar Armendariz.
Inland Empire Health Plan leadership visited Music Changing Lives' Urban Community Garden in San Bernardino in early August. Pictured left to right: IEHP CEO Jarrod McNaughton, IEHP Foundation President Angelica Baltazar, MCL Founder and CEO Josiah Bruny, IEHP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Takashi Wada, IEHP Vice President Innovation, Acceleration and Diversity Michael Deering, and IEHP Community Health Senior Director Cesar Armendariz.

For the last year, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) has worked closely with community partners to support these gardens, including an inspiring collaboration with Music Changing Lives (MCL) Chief Executive Officer Josiah Bruny, to bring a new community garden to San Bernardino.

Located on the corner of Electric Avenue and North 40th Street in San Bernardino – once one of the largest dumping sites in the city – the land has been transformed into MCL's Urban Garden. In addition to addressing food insecurity, the garden aims to provide a safe space where neighbors can come together to learn, exercise, eat, explore, relax and have fun.

Home to Soulful Sunday events every fourth Sunday of the month, local residents are invited to visit the garden for gardening workshops and various volunteer opportunities, while enjoying music, food and more. Information on Soulful Sunday events can be found on MCL's Facebook page.

"The best part about this project is that it's all led by the community," said Bruny. "Working together, we can bring more love to the region and those who need it most. We look forward to leveling up in our efforts to make the Inland Empire a better place for us all."

In addition to sponsorship, IEHP supports the garden by providing volunteers through the company's team member Helping Hearts program and Health Education team. Volunteers work alongside program leaders pulling weeds, planting trees, spreading mulch, building garden beds and irrigating crops.

"Through the right partnerships, compassion and drive to heal and inspire the human spirit, these gardens are thriving and bringing a diversity of wellness opportunities to our neighbors," said IEHP Senior Community Health Director Cesar Armendariz. "We appreciate the love Music Changing Lives has for the Inland Empire and the people who live here and look forward to continuing to plant and harvest more gardens for a healthier community."

The health plan also provided sponsorship to "Jardín Comunitario de la Salud" – Spanish for "Community Garden of Health" – to help support a large aquaponics garden at the Loma Linda University Health SACHS clinic in San Bernardino.

The first of its kind in the Inland Empire, the garden is home to a large quantity of fish that work symbiotically, nourishing garden beds and working to create food that can be harvested and consumed by the community.

Gardens are located in Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Jurupa, Perris and San Bernardino. For more information on local community gardens, visit: riversidefoods.org.

To our media friends, IEHP is happy to help arrange photo, video and interview opportunities at any of these garden sites – yes, including the garden that has put fish to work!

About IEHP

With a mission to heal and inspire the human spirit, Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) is one of the top 10 largest Medicaid health plans and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid plan in the country. In its 26th year, IEHP is supporting more than 1.5 million residents in Riverside and San Bernardino counties who are enrolled in Medicaid or Cal MediConnect Plans and has a growing network of over 7,800 providers and nearly 3,000 team members. Through dynamic partnerships with providers and community organizations, paired with award-winning service and a tradition of quality care, IEHP is fully committed to their vision: We will not rest until our communities enjoy optimal care and vibrant health. For more information, visit iehp.org.

IEHP Logo (PRNewsfoto/Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP))
IEHP Logo (PRNewsfoto/Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP))
Cision
Cision

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/community-gardens-nourish-with-food-fish-and-fellowship-301607985.html

SOURCE Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP)