Third-generation owner Gregory Bennett Jackson celebrated the 100th anniversary of his family’s full-service home remodeling company, Bennett Contracting, Inc., by helping families in Albany’s South End build strong roots.
In May, Jackson and a team of Bennett Contracting employees constructed and installed a garden shed and a grape arbor for local nonprofit Capital Roots in its Lincoln Park community garden, where more than 52 families grow their own food.
Capital Roots is a 40-year-old nonprofit organization that nourishes healthy communities with 50 Community Gardens, The Veggie Mobile, Healthy Stores, The Produce Project, Squash Hunger and more. Capital Roots recently opened The Urban Grow Center, a regional facility focused on urban agriculture and produce distribution to four counties, enabling Capital Roots to triple their ability to deliver local food and services to under served neighborhoods and low-income families.
Urban farms have developed into a trend recently, in attempt to address food deserts, and an overall promotion towards healthy eating. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 23 million Americans live in environments devoid of healthy food. These food deserts are as likely to occur in urban areas as they are in rural ones. The definition applies to communities without supermarkets or grocery stores. So, despite the plethora of fast food chains in town, this still leaves residents without fresh, healthy and affordable food.
“You see these bumper stickers that say “eat locally” or “eat fresh” that have come up over the past four or five years,” said Jackson. “They’ve been doing it for 40 years.”
Since all of the Capital Roots’ community gardens are managed organically, Jackson made sure to use wood with no preservatives for the structures. “Our ‘Building Strong Roots’ project demonstrates Bennett Contracting’s belief that every project, no matter how big or small, receives our utmost attention and care,” Jackson said.
Jackson donated rakes and other gardening implements for use by the Lincoln Park gardeners, and was on-hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony held last month.
“Capital Roots has been managing the Lincoln Park community garden since 1993,” said Amy Klein, executive director of Capital Roots, “and throughout the years we’ve helped hundreds of Albany’s South End families benefit from growing their own fresh food. The shed and grape arbor upgrades that Bennett Contracting constructed for the garden will generate an enhanced community experience for the families and breathe new life and functionality into this vital Capital Roots’ garden.”
To learn more bout Capital Roots, visit www.capitalroots.org.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.