NEWBURGH – On October 16th, Planned Parenthood’s Healthy Community Outreach Project (HCOP) broke ground on the Lillie Howard Urban Community Garden at the Mullins Courtyard Apartments located at 40 Walsh Road in Newburgh. Commemorating the work of lifetime Newburgh resident and community advocate, Lillie Howard, the garden’s dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by residents, community members and local officials.
In partnership with Greenway Environmental Services, the 12-by-24-foot garden is being installed to train Mullins Apartments residents in the planting and care of herbs, fruits and vegetables for consumption and to encourage the creation of individual kitchen gardens in their apartments in the future.
Lillie Howard, who is a member of the Newburgh Housing Authority and the city of Newburgh’s Police-Community Relations Review Board, has resided in the Mullins Apartments since 1970 when her family was the second to move in. Howard was the first African American to run for Newburgh City Council, the first Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for the City of Newburgh, and the first African American to host a talk show on radio station, WGNY—all after success as a singer in Billy & Lillie, a duo whose 1958 record “La Dee Dah” hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold over a million copies.
“Lillie Howard has worked closely as Healthy Community Outreach Project’s advisory board member and has been instrumental in strategizing and supporting initiatives and events,” says HCOP Project Manager Arlette Murrain. “We are thrilled to be dedicating the Mullins’ new urban community garden in her honor!”
“This garden is not only food for the body. Its very existence is food for the minds of the Mullins Community,” said Ms. Howard.
While the Healthy Community Outreach Project has focused on asthma education and awareness since its inception in 2017, the Lillie Howard Urban Community Garden follows in a long list of other partnered community initiatives, including providing resources for parents and families, hosting youth sporting events, and offering comprehensive nutrition education.