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WATCH VIDEO | Health Matters | Community gardens part of ‘ambitious plan’ to boost local food security | Local News

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Tired of looking at the vacant lot across Wood Street from their home in Johnstown’s Hornerstown section, Theresa Elchin-Gunby and her husband, Tonny Gunby, received permission in 2018 to do some planting on the property.


After some initial success, the couple bought the lot in September 2019 and began to make improvements.

Today, the Hornerstown Community Garden is one of nine community gardens scattered throughout the city that provide fresh produce to neighborhood families at no charge.

The 11-year-old community garden project is one of seven existing programs and new initiatives to get support through a joint effort to reduce hunger that is being developed by about a dozen local organizations.

They include the 1889 Jefferson Center for Population Health, the 1889 Foundation, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Sandyvale Memorial Gardens and Conservancy, Flood City Youth Fitness Academy, the Cambria County Backpack Project, Cambria County Library, Trinity Farms Center for Healing, Benshoff Farms, the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank and Vision Together 2025.

“It’s an ambitious plan to reduce hunger by 2% in the Greater Johnstown region,” United Way of the Laurel Highlands President and CEO Karen Struble Myers said.

Food security is considered to be a social determinant of health because it affects people’s overall health. The social determinants of health are grouped as one of seven focal areas for action in the latest Community Health Needs Assessment, published in March by Conemaugh Health System and the 1889 Jefferson Center.

1889 Jefferson Center President and CEO Jeannine McMillan said the goals of the food security project include:

• Developing a resource inventory of food-related resources and educational materials available in this area as sources for those in need.

• Developing nutrition and education programs in cooperation with

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