When it comes to eating healthy, DHEC Public Health is working to lead by example. Last week, I received photos of our North Charleston health clinic’s summer community garden in full bloom.
Like many of the communities that we serve, our North Charleston clinic is located in a food desert and our clients often have to travel at least six miles to access a grocery store with fresh produce.
Two years ago, Caroline Madsen, who’s a nutrition education specialist with our WIC program, started a garden at the clinic to get our clients interested in eating fresh vegetables, and inspire them to create gardens of their own. Below is a photo of Caroline standing in the summer garden shortly after it was planted at the end of April.
Before coming to DHEC, Caroline worked as a horticulturalist. She brings her love of gardening to her work as a WIC nutritionist and has inspired her colleagues to join in the fun. Fellow nutrition education specialist Binoo Hasija and registered dietitian Sylvia Blyth work with Caroline to start seedlings in their homes, purchase supplies for the garden, and tend it daily.
According to clinic site supervisor Karen Lindsay, the community garden is a big hit with our WIC clients and their children, who pick ripe produce during their nutrition classes and take the fresh veggies home to eat. Our staff encourages WIC clients to eat them fresh, and they give advice to people seeking to start their own home or patio vegetable gardens.
The North Charleston community garden has been such a success that Caroline will be traveling to our Beaufort and Bluffton clinics soon to help them start gardens for their clients, too. Thank you to Caroline, Binoo, and Sylvia for all your hard work in establishing and growing this successful community garden that’s helping our clients access and enjoy fresh, local produce.