Rock Island Community Garden Expands Role - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Community Garden Expands Role

Updated: June 18, 2013 10:33 PM

Activate Rock Island is stepping up its efforts to provide low-income residents on the city's west side with healthy food.

Activate rock island says the first step is to raise awareness about what it's trying to do -- trying to make the city healthier. That's why the group has been putting up billboards around town.

The group is also pushing to expand the role Rock Island's community gardens play right now

The city's community garden consortium met Tuesday morning to discuss just that. Reverend Jacqueline Walls with the consortium says the goal is to start selling food from the Franklin Field Community Garden within the next  three weeks to people living on the city's west side. Walls said there will be three farmers markets - more than the city's west side has had in the past.

Rock Island's west side is a lower income area with a lot of refugees - and a lot of people there don't have access to healthy produce. There's no full-service grocery store in the immediate area – making it a food desert. Walls said that's why the garden and upcoming farmer's market it so important.:

"You know, you teach a person how to fish, they can fish for many days ... As opposed to giving them a fish," Walls said. "So, we decided we'd start teaching how to fish. And that's how Franklin field came about."

Activate Rock Island also said it's excited for a new opportunity to get residents exercising more.

Illinois Department of Transportation announced it's looking for input on a state bike transportation plan to figure out the best improvements that can be made. Christy Filby works with Activate Rock Island and the Quad Cities YMCA. She said the hope is to get more bike paths in the Illinois Quad Cities area.

The state will hold a meeting to get some feed-back on what can be done to improve the area for bicyclists on July 23 at the Moline Public Library.