Community Gardens & Food Security
Food security is achieved when access to sufficient, safe, affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate foods is present at all times. The City of Billings - Community Development division created a Community Garden and Food Security Initiative as a part of the Billings Metro VISTA Project. Two AmeriCorps VISTA members worked on the initiative from July 2010 to July 2011 to increase food security within the community. As a result, several community gardens were created and are sustained by local nonprofit organizations today.
In 2017, the City of Billings - Community Development Division began spearheading a three-year urban agriculture initiative to promote food security and economic prosperity including: the creation of community and container gardens and increase access to affordable, fresh produce; the promotion of retail venue distribution / farmers markets to sell healthy food options in food deserts; and to promote cost-saving urban agriculture design to save utility costs for low income households. Through a community capacity-building approach, the VISTA members will work in partnership with individuals, community groups, businesses, and agencies to help develop the skills, resources and support needed to create and sustain food security initiatives.
The following garden initiatives have been supported through the Billings Metro VISTA Project:
- HAB Community Gardens Project
- Veteran's Garden at Independence Hall
- Youth Garden at The Salvation Army
- Children's Garden at Billings Head Start
- Children's Garden at Friendship House
- Housing Authority of Billings Pumpkin Patch
- Amend Park Community Garden
VISTA Gardens in the News!
Here are a few of the City's VISTA-supported community garden projects featured in the Billings Gazette: