Historical and current evidence reveals that those who belong to a middle class bracket and above at times believe low-income people are lazy. How can we address this issue through our work? What techniques do Grow Appalachia sites employ to build bridges between various low-income groups and others, and examine issues that are interconnected with low-income situations—issues such as health and transportation?
For example, participants may want to garden more and volunteer more or regularly attend workshops. But sometimes they won’t get there because they literally cannot get there—no access to reliable transportation, work or childcare schedule conflicts, or illness and disability prevent involvement or inhibit successful participation in the program.
We will be leading a discussion program with community garden programs for low-income residents throughout the Appalachian region. We are interested in what other Grow Appalachia sites are doing so we can improve our own performance and impact of our own program, and also help remove road blocks or build resilience into other community gardening programs that focus on meeting food needs immediate and otherwise and teaching skills.
One idea we had was for working groups for low-income residents and people belonging to other socioeconomic class groups- safe situations where people can learn from each other each getting something out of it—attitudes can change. We have not held workshops with program participants and others, so we would love to know you all's experience with that.
Our goal is to create opportunities for change, growth, and examination of perspectives while simultaneously creating multifaceted connections between healthy people, a healthy planet, and living consciously.
So, in a nutshell, how do you combat the categorization of low-income people as lazy and unreliable? And if the unreliability is admitted to be linked to larger issues such as health, how can we help people live healthier?