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JCSU Partners with Sugar Creek Charter School for the Seed-to-Feed Project

Charlotte, N.C. (April 7, 2014) – Johnson C. Smith University is collaborating with Sugar Creek Charter School (SCCS) and Friendships Gardens of Charlotte to generate interest in sustainability through gardening while helping to solve Charlotte’s food desert issue.

Through the Seed-to-Feed project, students in grades 4-6 will learn how to grow and prepare fresh food and make healthy food choices.  The Title I charter school serves 608 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.

Jennifer Lee, a staff member at Johnson C. Smith University who leads the Seed-to-Feed project, believes the project is vital to the health of youth. “Access to an ample quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables at school, at home and in the community is critical,” she said. “It is especially important for school-aged children, given that poor dietary habits can linger or worsen into the high school years and adulthood.”

The project is made possible by a $35,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation awarded to the HealthPlex at JCSU which oversees Seed-to-Feed. “The grants awarded by the Aetna Foundation are helping more than 100 local nonprofits create momentum around building healthier lifestyles in underserved communities through better nutrition and greater physical activity,” said Dr. Garth Graham,  president of the Aetna Foundation.

During the summer of 2013, the HealthPlex took the initiative to self-fund the Seed-to-Feed pilot program in cooperation with the Mecklenburg County Library Beatties Ford Road Branch and An Angel’s Touch Youth Enrichment Program. During the pilot program, the 154 students who participated showed a 5.58 percent score when tested about their knowledge before the program. After the program, their scores rose to over 15 percent. “This improvement showed that the hands-on experience gained by participating contributed to the student’s understanding of the subject,” said Victor Romano, director of the HealthPlex.  “If our youths are able to set a healthy foundation now, they will be able to carry these values into adulthood.”

The Seed-to-Feed ties into the university’s focus on community engagement and sustainability,” said Dr. Ronald L. Carter, president of Johnson C. Smith University. “We are moving beyond our gates to educate the community on how to become better stewards of their own health and their environment.”      

About Johnson C. Smith University

Founded in 1867, Johnson C. Smith University is an independent, close-knit urban university located in Charlotte, N.C. It has a growing national reputation for integrating the liberal arts with business, the sciences and technology in ways that empower tomorrow’s diverse entrepreneurial citizens and leaders. Offering 22 fields of study to more than 1,300 students from a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, the university’s excellent academic programs focus on servant leadership, civic engagement and global responsibility. For more information about JCSU, visit or follow the university on social media sites Facebook , TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Pinterest.

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