Building the Community

MQVN Community Development Corporation aquaponic garden, 2013, photograph by Stephen Fenton
Courtesy of Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation (MQVN CDC)

Mary Queen of Vietnam Community Development Corporation (MQVN CDC) was established by community leaders in May 2006 to assist Vietnamese-Americans in New Orleans East in rebuilding their lives and community after Hurricane Katrina.  MQVN CDC’s work encompasses health care, environmental and agricultural concerns, education, housing, social services, economic development, and culture and the arts.

One successful commercial enterprise has been MQVN CDC’s aquaponic gardens where community members grow basil and other herbs for sale to area restaurants and at community markets. The organization is also developing a Viet Village Urban Farm Project.

In 2011, the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia undertook an ambitious public art project called A Place to Call Home.  Designed to shed light on the unique housing challenges facing urban children and youth, the project was meant as a significant effort to equip them with the skills and resources necessary to ensure they remain healthy and housed. An example of how art can be an agent for social change, the project included the transformative painting of over 30 facades of homes on Melon Street, a neighborhood which had been plagued by drugs and crime.

Community Mural at 3800 Melon Street, Philadelphia, A Place to Call Home, led by muralist Ernel Martinez, 2011, photograph by Steve Weinik
Courtesy of Mural Arts Program, City of Philadelphia

Further Reading

Hackbarth, D. P., Schnopp-Wyatt, D., Katz, D., Williams, J., Silvestri, B., & Pfleger, M. (2001). Collaborative research and action to control the geographic placement of outdoor advertising of alcohol and tobacco products in ChicagoPublic Health Reports116(6), 558–567.

Li, F., Harmer, P., Cardinal, B. J., Bosworth, M., & Johnson-Shelton, D. (2009). Obesity and the Built Environment: Does the Density of Neighborhood Fast-Food Outlets Matter? American Journal of Health Promotion : AJHP23(3), 203–209.

Litt, J. S., Soobader, M.-J., Turbin, M. S., Hale, J. W., Buchenau, M., & Marshall, J. A. (2011). The Influence of Social Involvement, Neighborhood Aesthetics, and Community Garden Participation on Fruit and Vegetable ConsumptionAmerican Journal of Public Health101(8), 1466–1473.