The Wilson local food initiative is a part of a larger community-wide effort to reduce disease and improve community health within the city. The Planning & Community Revitalization Department participates in the following activities:
In 2017 Wilson partnered with other local governments, institutions and community based organizations to write a successful application for the federal Americore VISTA program. VISTA’s are volunteers that commit to a year of service in their chosen community working on community issues. Wilson’s VISTA program was funded for three years and is focusing on expanding access to healthy foods, promoting and building capacity for community gardens and growing the existing downtown farmers market. Partners include nonprofits already engaged in community gardening, the City which has land area for gardens, Wilson Downtown Development Corporation which provides support to the farmer’s market, and the farmers market committee that organizes the existing farmer’s market. The VISTA will build capacity of our existing community garden operators and recruit more organizations and neighborhood groups to participate in community gardening. The City will also support the development of community gardens at public housing properties. The VISTA can assist in establishing city policy for community gardens, help with best practices in operating and developing gardens, educate on the benefits of gardening and healthy foods, and help establish a network of community garden operators that will work to provide access to healthy foods.