LHCC is funding more green space for people all over the state, which not only helps people be healthier, but brings them together!
In north Louisiana, Monroe's Lida Benton Park got a little help in the form of a LHCC grant for park and playground improvements, while in Vivian, the Reader Chapel built a community garden with raised beds and irrigation. These great efforts were both done in conjunction with the LSU Ag Center's Region 7 and Region 9 offices.
Moving south, Washington, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes are using LHCC funds to help turn blighted parking lots and properties into playgrounds, as part of a larger effort with the LSU Ag Center Region 9 office, Well-Ahead and the Bogalusa Strong health coalition. Hopscotch, anyone?
And in the same area, with a little help from LHCC, the Bogalusa School Board is busy planting school gardens, while the Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans (CAGNO) created a garden for cancer survivors.
Are you thinking: How do green spaces really make people healthier? In all kinds of ways, as it turns out. The World Health Organization says that green spaces promote physical activity and relaxation; create social interaction; and even help lessen air pollution because trees filter out harmful airborne substances while producing oxygen. All of these things improve our well-being (both physical and mental) and help reduce health inequalities.
And how do they do that? Think about it: Low-income areas often don't have sidewalks, large yards or parks nearby for people to use or gather in. Parks are now one of the few places in an increasingly stratified world where it's becoming a norm for people with money to, say, send their kids to private school, go to the head of the line at Disney World, or use special lanes on highways. It's not good for any community to be divided – so what better place to bring people together than in a garden or by playing a game? That's why LHCC says "Bring on the green!"