The Allegheny County Health Department is offering a free brochure promoting consumption of fruits and vegetables by identifying where fresh, local produce can be purchased or grown in community gardens.
"Summer is the perfect time for eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are an important part of a healthy diet that can help prevent chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Eating locally grown produce also helps keep money in the local economy and ensures that produce is ripe and at optimal taste and nutrient levels," said Acting Health Director Dr. Ronald E. Voorhees.
A Guide to Buying and Growing Fresh Produce in Allegheny County is a 35-page brochure that lists eight farms where people can pick their own produce, 13 farms that offer Community Supported Agriculture programs allowing consumers to purchase a pre-determined share of locally grown crops on a weekly basis, 68 farmers' markets and farm stands that sell fresh produce directly to consumers, and 60 community garden sites where consumers can plant and harvest their own crops.
The listings specify which farmers' markets and farm stands accept EBT cards and Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers issued to seniors and families in the Women, Infants and Children Program.
The brochure includes a section on how to start, operate and maintain a community garden if there is no existing community garden in the neighborhood. Advice is offered on locating, developing and preparing a site; soil testing; composting; pest prevention; theft prevention; planting schedules; and winterizing.
The brochure is available at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District, local libraries and by contacting Amy McCarty of the Health Department at 412-247-7813 or firstname.lastname@example.org. It also can be downloaded from the Health Department's web site at www.achd.net/chrond/healthycommunities.html.