City obtains grant to help low-income neighborhoods

Funds would also help expand volunteerism program

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A $100,000 grant will enable the city to expand its volunteerism program and grow more vegetables for low-income neighborhoods.

The city will use part of the grant to install 10 to 15 vegetable gardens next year. Volunteers, recruited through Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's ServePgh program, will help to tend them. After the growing season, residents can visit "harvest markets" to pick up produce for free.

"We will have gardens in this spring," mayoral spokeswoman Joanna Doven said.

She said the new program, called "Edible Gardens," is in keeping with Mr. Ravenstahl's pledge during the One Young World summit last week to join chef Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and help Pittsburghers eat healthier.

The city also will use a portion of the grant to coat 10 city-owned buildings with a reflective paint. The paint will cool the buildings, enabling the city to cut electricity use and save money.

In all, Cities of Service, a coalition of mayors, awarded nearly $1 million to 18 cities in its inaugural round of Impact Volunteering Fund grants. The competitive grants, funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies, went to cities that harness the power of volunteers for urban change.

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