Calexico apartment community a model for healthy lifestyle

Calexico apartment community a model for healthy lifestyle change

Calexico, California September 1, 2011 - These residents at the Calexico Family Apartments will soon reap a delicious harvest of vegetables in three months.  The Imperial County Public Health Department partnered with Network for a Healthy California to provide these vegetable gardens and fruit trees to residents.

Calexico Mayor Luis Castro says the Latino community needs the partnership's program, Champions for Change.

"Thanks to the program, I believe there are more Latinos that are going to eat more fruits, vegetables and water," Mayor Castro.  "And that's what we need to be healthy."

Ana Goins-Ramirez with Network for a Healthy California says low-income populations don't get adequate fruits and vegetables that they need because of cost and accessibility.  She says a community garden addresses their nutritional needs.

"By having the community garden right here in the apartment complex, residence have access to free and low-cost fruits and vegetables so that makes it more affordable," says Goins-Ramirez, who heads the Latino Campaign for Network for a Healthy California.

Resident Guillermina Rodriguez grew her pomegranate tree from a seed.  She says the added vegetable gardens and fruits trees are welcomed.

"It's very nice.  We're very grateful for you to come and help us with these things," says Rodriguez.  "And God is also going to bless you as well.  It's very nice."

Because eating well, getting fit at the same time helps keep residents healthy.

"Gardening is a great way of getting some exercise everyday and it's also very relaxing. And it also helps you with your nutrition," says Goins-Ramirez.  "Here in Imperial County, it gets hot during the summer months. So another alternative is to go inside and maybe do some aerobics, put on some music and dance. That's another way to get some physical activity and to really have some fun."

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