May 8, 2022

San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative Mini-Grant Program

Each year San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (COI) releases a Request for Applications for mini-grants to address policy, systems, or environmental changes in support of healthy eating and active living. This year, the Childhood Obesity Initiative had 17 organizations apply for grants totaling over $75,000. While funding typically covers 2-3 projects, the Childhood Obesity Initiative was able to fund 8 mini-grant projects in 2022 thanks to a generous gift from the Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan.

The Global ARC’s Healthy Family Nights Series at the Ocean View Growing Grounds

The Global ARC received one of the coveted mini-grants in support of their Healthy Family Nights Series at the Ocean View Growing Grounds. The series aims to increase the community's access to fresh and organically grown produce at no cost. It brings together families and neighbors to build community while sharing healthy meals and exchanging recipes for cooking culturally-rooted meals using limited resources.

The Ocean View Growing Grounds, where the events take place, is a 27,000 square foot community garden in Southeastern San Diego that lies between an Interstate (I-805) and an auto repair shop on a busy bus line - a piece of nature located in a neighborhood formerly identified as a food desert - a city area that lacks supermarkets or farmers markets. It is a place to grow food, connect with neighbors, share knowledge, and learn new things about healthy living.

Since it began, The Global ARC’s Healthy Family Nights Series has served approximately 25 community members and counting. Each attendee has been able to take home about 5lbs of fresh greens like kale, celery, broccoli, and herbs directly from the garden.

  • 90% of guests agreed they would come back for future dinners and feel a better sense of community.
  • 81% of guests stated they are interested in attending volunteer hours at Ocean View Growing Grounds.

More than a garden, Ocean View Growing Grounds has become a diverse hub for learning, outdoor recreation, and community-building. It houses a self-sustaining food system that helps people learn how to make their community resilient and how to have a voice in policies related to environmental justice.

For more information about the Healthy Family Nights Series, visit:

For more information on how the Ocean View Growing Grounds got its start as a research project to support the cultivation of community gardens and food forests on vacant lots, visit: