NC BioNetwork/BioAg Joins Nourishing North Carolina to Provide Fresh Produce, Physical Activity for the Community
Lumberton, N.C. â€“ Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) has awarded Robeson Community College Greenzone a grant through Nourishing North Carolina, a statewide community garden effort making local, healthy food more accessible to people across the state. In June 2011, BCBSNC launched the program in partnership with the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA) to create or enhance community gardens in all 100 North Carolina counties.
â€śThis grant will allow us to expand our garden so we can provide fresh, local produce for more people in our community and encourage healthy eating habits,â€ť said Ed Hunt NC BioNetwork Coordinator. â€śWe are proud to be part of the Nourishing North Carolina network. Our garden not only provides healthy food, it also provides a safe area for our neighbors to work together, share a public green space and be physically active through gardening.â€ť
North Carolinians continue to face serious health issues, and the stateâ€™s obesity rates remain at alarming levels. In fact, nearly two-thirds of adults in North Carolina are overweight or obese due to unhealthy eating and physical inactivity, which is above the national average . Community gardens are just one targeted but impactful way to address health issues across North Carolina.
â€śCommunities across North Carolina are embracing this initiative and rolling up their sleeves to help North Carolinians eat better and live healthier lives. This is important work that reaches far beyond the growing season,â€ť said Brad Wilson, BCBSNC president and CEO.
In August of 2011, Robeson Community College and the NC BioNetwork/BioAg Center created the Greenzone on Campus. This project is an interdepartmental collaboration that will be used to teach students about many different areas of sustainability. Currently, the garden has provided fresh produce to RCCâ€™s culinary lab and many plants to a local non-profit (Sacred Pathways). As a result, several local raised beds where replenished with food producing plants. This project will continue to provide raised beds and plants to well deserving community members. Our long term goals are to continue to teach others about producing healthy foods. â€˘