Share this article

print logo

Shopping carts set course for healthier diets in Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS — No longer will abandoned shopping carts be a sign of decay in Niagara Falls.

Instead they will be a sign of growth, literally, as “Grow on the Go” repurposes the carts to become mobile gardens.

The program, which will be launched Thursday by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, will bring fresh fruits and vegetable to an urban environment where growing a successful garden can be a challenge.

The shopping cart garden is based on a North Coast Food mobile gardens concept. The carts will be repurposed and filled with weed-block liner, soil and plants. Each household is allowed one shopping cart, which gives individuals their own greenspace. The mobile carts allow the garden to be wheeled into buildings, apartments and onto elevators. The carts can also be moved outside for sunlight.

Grow on the Go Mobile Gardens will partner with Niagara Falls Public Library to distribute the carts to the participants.

Justine Hay, lead nutritionist for the Extension, said the program breaks down some of the barriers to getting fresh fruits and vegetables many residents and is designed to increase consumption of healthy foods.

“We are thrilled to work with {the Extension] on an endeavor which will undoubtedly benefit our community in a healthy way,” Joanna Battaglia, a Niagara Falls librarian, said in a statement.

The library also will serve as a gathering site for residents to meet twice a month for “cart clinics.” The clinics will include an Eat Smart New York nutritionist who will teach participants how to use the healthy foods they are growing. The clinics also will include periodic visits from a master gardener from the Cornell Cooperative Extension who will provide hands-on support.

The program begins with 20 carts that have been assigned to households and agencies.

A planting party was held Wednesday and cart clinics will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. June 6 and 20; 1 to 2 p.m. on July 11, 25, and Aug. 8 and 22; and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 and 26.