November 4, 2022 (Leesburg, VA): The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) has awarded INMED Partnerships for Children a grant to implement its special brand of aquaponics for food production in a low-income community of Leesburg, VA.
Through its Get Outdoors Fund (GO), the VOF supports projects that increase equitable access to safe open space in Virginia’s communities. The intent of the program is to serve as a flexible, adaptable tool for addressing communities’ needs, such as access to locally produced foods and clean and safe environments for recreation and work.
INMED is introducing aquaponics, plus home and community gardening, to strengthen food security among low-income residents of the Leesburg Mobile Home Park (LMHP) while promoting environmental education and access to outdoor space. Aquaponics combines aquaculture and hydroponics in a closed, symbiotic system that uses 90% less water and produces up to 10 times more in the same space as conventional agriculture, while eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
“INMED has been strengthening food security, environmental conservation, climate adaptation and sustainable livelihoods through aquaponics in vulnerable communities around the world for more than a decade,” says Jennifer Smith, INMED’s U.S. Programs Director. “We’re excited to now offer this impactful program in the U.S.” Sterling, VA-based INMED USA will lead the project.
“Access to nutritious food and safe open space are key to healthy communities, and we are excited to be supporting both through this grant,” says Brett Glymph, Executive Director of the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. “We believe the program will have immediate and lasting impacts on the community it serves.”
A community aquaponics garden planned for the LMHP will provide fresh, all-natural produce to the families year-round, supplemented by nutrition education, wellness workshops, fitness classes and other resources the families need to narrow health equity and food security gaps. “We are excited to offer all the support and services we provide at our Sterling Opportunity Center to the residents of the Loudoun Mobile Home Park right in their own backyard,” says Smith.
The LMHP community is home to 130 low-income families that have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and skyrocketing inflation. INMED USA has been working closely with the new property owner, David Gregory, to improve conditions and opportunities for the community.
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