Georgia College Receives $325,000 Healthy Living Grant

7:08 PM, Oct 29, 2013   |    comments
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"Okra, tomatoes, cucumber, squash, basil."

These are just a few of Linda McKnight's favorite things.

She grows them in the plot of land she bought in Milledgeville's community garden off Harrisburg Road for ten dollars a year.

Those who garden here say they're reaping what they sow.

"It makes us happy to know hey, this came from the garden," Barbara Vann said. "When you see the price of collards, which are a staple around here, it'll make you want to plant your own!"

The garden was created through a grant awarded to Georgia College's Center for Health and Social Issues (CHSI).

The original $500,000 grant was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation over a four-year period, beginning in 2010.

Dr. Jim Lidstone, director of CHSI, says he was "nervous" since that funding was set to expire on December 15.

But he says the Center's success in expanding programs like the community garden led to its most recent grant through the Healthcare Georgia Foundation. That's $325,000 over the next three years, to continue promoting a healthy lifestyle and fighting childhood obesity.

"When you create access to healthy food and physical activity, then everybody benefits," Lidstone said.

According to Lidstone, the money will go towards creating more green space, community gardens, parks and playgrounds. 

He also hopes to improve bicycle trails in Baldwin County, turn blighted properties into green space and work with the schools to increase physical activity to 60 minutes per day.

The Center installed a quarter-mile walking trail around the community garden last month.

People say it's helping them stay active.

"We've been losing weight. I lost about 26 pounds," Susie Russel said.

Kids are benefiting too.

"To me, they got a better attitude about life. Physically, they're getting in shape!"

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh.

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