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News Releases from Region 04

The 34th Street Wholistic Gardens & Education Center, Inc. in Gulfport Receives Second Place Gulf Guardian Award in the Environmental Justice/Cultural Diversity Category

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Davina Marraccini (

ATLANTA (November 30, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Program recognized 34th Street Wholistic Gardens & Education Center in Gulfport, Miss., with a second place 2017 Gulf Guardian Award in the Environmental Justice/Cultural Diversity Category. The award was presented at a ceremony today at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort in Point Clear, Ala.

“Whether for individual recreational use or as an economic engine supporting a wide variety of jobs and industry, the Gulf of Mexico is a vibrant yet vulnerable ecosystem,” said Ben Scaggs, Gulf of Mexico Program Director. “Protecting this national resource requires innovative approaches and proactive measures. The Gulf Guardian award winners are paving the way for ‘out of the box’ thinking and replicable practices.”

The 34th Street Gardens and Education Center (the Gardens) is a purposefully designed organic and hydroponic garden model and wellness park that allows people of all age groups and cultures to grow healthy foods and participate in activities that promote health, wellness and good stewardship of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Region.

The Gardens was established in April of 2016 to address food deserts and food insecurities and promote environmental education among the vulnerable communities in the region. To date, the Gardens has recruited over 25 volunteer master gardeners, and provides workshops, training and seminars that promote health, wellness, gardening and environmental education. The Gardens houses outdoor classrooms and offers a year-round Environmental Earth Youth Club and a summer youth camp to educate and motivate youth about gardening and the environment while promoting healthy eating and living.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: individual, business/industry, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

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