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Increasing Healthy Living in North Carolina Communities:
Eat Smart, Move More Community Grants
2012-2013

Gaston County Engages its Residents to Increase Healthy Eating

Gaston County Health Department received the 2012-2013 Eat Smart, Move More Community Grant in the Highland Community, a food desert with limited access to fresh produce. There is no grocery store in this community; there is only a small convenient store with little fresh produce. A farmers’ market exists, but it is difficult to access with public transportation and has limited hours of operation.

The Eat Smart, Move More Community Grant was given to the Gaston County Health Department (GCHD) to create Healthy Highland. Healthy Highland is a collaborative health promotion effort focusing on the needs of residents in the Highland Community in Gastonia, North Carolina. The Healthy Highland Council has utilized resources from various agencies and the Community Transformation Grant to successfully start a farmers’ market in the community and help with a community garden. The community now has a graduating class of master gardeners, and one master gardener coordinates gardens and nutrition programs at all local daycares.

Partners for this project included:

  • Gaston County Cooperative Extension
  • Gaston County Wellness Committee
  • 3rd Street Presbyterian Church
  • Friendship Church

The most lasting output of this project is the Healthy Highland Council. This group held monthly health equity council meetings during the grant project year, identified community health issues, and developed actions steps for improving health and safety in the community. The group will continue meeting and will move forward with community activities and action items. They are an energetic, thoughtful group enthused to get started on some new initiatives.


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