Good health is about so much more than what happens in a clinic. It’s about improving lives, helping communities, and addressing the factors that shape people’s quality-of-life and wellbeing.
For Amerigroup Texas, one of the most basic factors is food. That’s why programs like the farmers market and community garden in Houston’s Acres Homes neighborhood are so important.
Amerigroup helped fund the community garden’s launch and worked with a number of partners — including the Houston Mayor’s Office, Communities for Better Health and Houston Complete Communities (an initiative of the Mayor’s Office) — to get the project off the ground. Mayor Sylvester Turner officially opened the garden and market with a check presentation on Aug. 7.
“Health starts with food — it’s as simple as that,” said Amerigroup Texas President and CEO Greg Thompson. “Thankfully, most of us can’t imagine not knowing where our next meal will come from. For those experiencing it, day-to-day hunger can be painful and debilitating. It’s up to us to make sure that food — like healthcare — is not available and accessible for those who need it.”
One in seven Texans do not have reliable access to enough food to ensure an active, healthy life, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Feeding Texas. For children, that total is 20 percent. A population bigger than the cities of Dallas and Houston combined suffer with this food insecurity.
Acres Homes was once the South’s largest unincorporated Black community, according to University of Houston researchers. It’s now considered a food desert, with tens of thousands of residents living more than a mile from the nearest grocery store.
“This vital new resource will make produce far more accessible to the people of Acres Homes,” Mayor Turner said. “It will help people live healthier lives, support local business owners, and strengthen the community.”