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Latino families grow their own in a thriving new community garden

On a gentle south-facing slope in Corvallis, Oregon, twenty Latino families gather to tend plots at the Westside Community Garden.In this community, obesity and diabetes among Latinos has been increasing rapidly. The community garden is an effort to help combat this epidemic. Families come and go from the garden to plant, weed and water 400 square foot plots that yield organic vegetables through summer and fall and fill freezers and pantries for winter. The garden, funded by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, sprang up in the spring of 2008 to fill a need for more local community garden space, especially for Latino families. Last year's warm summer produced a bounty of produce for participating families. Gardeners harvested tomatoes, tomatillos, cucumbers, melons, herbs, and other edibles. Some families canned or froze the surplus they harvested, in addition to sharing with neighbors and donating to a local food bank. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon was recently awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to continue and broaden their work fighting childhood obesity.