This spring, one of the longest-standing ethnic communities represented at the New American Center teamed up with the Lynn Food and Fitness Alliance to establish a community garden. Led by Mani Biswa, a group of refugees from Bhutan began cultivating a plot of earth that would soon host a number of fruit and vegetable plants that this group gets to call their own.
The City of Lynn was recently chosen as a community to participate in Mass in Motion, a statewide initiatvie of the MA Department of Public Health, thus launching the creation of the Lynn Food and Fitness Alliance. The mission of this local organization is to promote healthy eating and active living by changing the environment in which people work, play, and live.
One mode through which the Lynn Food and Fitness Alliance has sought to change the lives of Lynn residents is the establishment of commuity gardens. For a few years now, community gardens have been "sprouting" across Lynn, as underused plots of land are slowly transformed into small gardens.
Although small, these gardens have brought big meaning for the memers of the Bhutanese community in Lynn. Coming from a mainly agrarian society, it was a huge cultural adjustment for these refugees to adjust to an urban lifestyle in Lynn. One aspect of home that they've missed is being able to grow their own fresh food, especially when most foods that are sold in the United States have been heavily processed. The establishment of the communitty garden has brought back a little piece of home that has served as a source of comfort for these new Lynn residents.
Engaging in a community garden has also given this group the opportunity to interact with other citizens of Lynn, which will hopefully strengthen their ties to the greater Lynn community. This small plot of land has brought this group of people one step closer to making Lynn feel like their new home.