State program planting community gardens in poor areas

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — An ongoing program to help spread healthy eating habits through parts of rural Alabama has established or supported nearly 40 community gardens in outlying areas.

The ALProHealth program is being led by Alabama Extension officials in Auburn. It received a $4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014.

The lack of healthy food is acute in places like the town of Geiger in impoverished Sumter County near the Mississippi line. Residents have to drive more than 20 miles to a grocery store.

A statement from Alabama Extension says a community garden established in the area is now providing fresh fruit and vegetables that are otherwise hard to come by.

The program has worked on 16 school-based gardens and 22 more in communities.