Aligned with its mission, the Action Research Center in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) at the University of Cincinnati (UC), is promoting social justice and strengthening the local community with the help of a newly awarded grant to the Camp Washington Community Board. Engage Cincy, a series of grants presented by the Cincinnati City Manager’s Office, recently selected the Camp Washington Art and Mobile Produce Project (CAMP) as one of five grassroots organizations to receive a $10,000 grant. CAMP is a partnership between the Camp Washington Community Board, the Wave Pool Art Gallery Fulfillment Center, and the Action Research Center.
CAMP aims to increase healthy produce access for those living in a food desert in the Camp Washington region. The produce is grown locally and distributed for free by an artfully-crafted bike powered produce cart. The cart also brings make-it-take-it arts and crafts activities to families that boost awareness and education related to food.
To assist in their goal of raising awareness of healthy foods, CAMP uses a Community Food and Asset Map. The food map shows all the locations in Camp Washington where food is grown, handled, eaten, and produced. The map was generated using an Action Research method known as community asset mapping. Wave Pool hosted a community food mapping event, where the public generated data to be represented on the map.
Food Mapping, which was developed by Alan Wight, a member of UC’s Action Research Center, is a participatory, psychogeographic exercise that engages communities in creating art, while simultaneously mapping food sources and related community assets. Maps help frame conversations about the availability and affordability of healthy, locally produced food, and food security and justice issues. The goal of this activity is to stimulate conversation about the personal health, community, economic, and ecological impacts of our food systems.
The CAMP project targets real problems within the Camp Washington community in a non-intimidating, creative, and fun way. By incorporating art with food and nutrition education, this project increases access to fresh food in a welcoming and engaging manner.
The CAMP grant was written by Joe Gorman, Cal Cullen, and Alan Wight