Creating Gardens in 15 North Carolina Counties

FirstHealth of the Carolinas

Field of Work: Increasing physical activity and healthy eating among children and improving public policy and neighborhood physical environments to better accommodate healthy living.

Problem Synopsis: Since the mid-1970s, overweight and obesity have increased among adults, children and adolescents.

Synopsis of the Work: Active for Life®: Generations Working Together to Prevent Childhood Obesity (Generations) (August 2005 through July 2008) awarded grants to four organizations, all previous recipients of grants under RWJF's Active for Life®: Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older national program. Generations' four grantee organizations created and implemented program and policy change projects that paired adults with children ages 3 to 12. The Generations program targeted minority children in low-income communities at risk for obesity.

The goal of North Carolina's Generations project was to start an organic community garden that would introduce children to fresh fruits and vegetables. FirstGarden was launched in the spring 2006 as a laboratory in which children and older volunteer adults work under the direction of master gardeners affiliated with the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension-Moore County Center.

Key Results: The 5,600 square foot organic garden produces vegetables, including peas, tomatoes, pepper, beans, okra, lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon, radishes and squash, and a variety of flowers. In spring 2007, Moore County's Communities in Schools joined with other organizations to establish FirstSchool Garden on the grounds of schools, including gardens targeted to classes serving special needs students.

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