Limestone Teams with Agencies to Provide Seed Money for Gardens at Area Elementary Schools

Area elementary students and teachers after receiving their mini-grant from Limestone College to construct a raised-bed garden.

Fighting cancer by eating healthy is an idea that is literally taking root at Limestone College.

Teaming with officials from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Clemson University Extension Service, Limestone welcomed students from four area elementary and high schools to kick-off its community garden initiative. And "community" is the operative word.

Standing in front of three newly-constructed raised garden beds which will be used to grow a wide variety of vegetables, Dr. Maria Felicia Cavallini, Associate Professor of Physical Education at Limestone, emphasized the importance of eating healthy and living the same way. She then presented checks of $500 to the area school officials to go towards the construction of their own raised bed gardens.

With Cavallini spearheading the project, Limestone was awarded a $6,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental control (DHEC) as part of their cancer prevention and education initiative.

"For children specifically, community gardens create opportunities to learn more about nutrition and making healthier food choices, becoming more physically active and developing a stronger appreciation for community. And those are qualities that we all-adults included-should embrace." said Cavallini. "In the fight against cancer, which is especially important in Cherokee County since we have the highest rate of breast cancer in the state, adopting healthy eating behaviors can prevent and control cancer's devastating effects."

But the students are not the only ones set to benefit from the community garden. While portions of the harvest from Limestone's garden will be provided to the chefs in the college's Stephenson Dining Hall, the rest will be donated to the Cherokee County Meals on Wheels organization. "This is a literal dream for us," said Meals on Wheels Director Terri Dennis. "We are strong proponents of using the absolute freshest of foods for our clients, and for Limestone to grow and provide these vegetables for our clients is the epitome of community service."