Healthier Together Georgia
Healthier Together is a High Obesity Prevention grant funded by the CDC and implemented by the University of Georgia Extension. The goals of the grant are to increase community access to healthy foods and physical activities in our 5 target counties:
- Calhoun County
- Clay County
- Dooly County
- Stewart County
- Taliaferro County
UGA Extension, the College of Public Health and the College of Family and Consumer Sciences are working with the CDC and strong community coalitions to make our counties a healthier place to live, work and play.
“Healthier Together” is the name of our coalitions passionate about making a difference and leading prevention efforts in the county. Members represent local law enforcement, health professionals, retirees, pastors, churches, schools, educators, nurses, elected officials, business owners, farmers and volunteer.
Healthier Together has been able to meet grant goals and provide deliverables despite the challenge of COVID-19 this grant year. While we have been able to support Georgians in our Healthier Together counties in several ways, food access has been key to community resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of July 2020, 41 community gardens have been established throughout Calhoun, Clay, Dooly, Stewart, and Taliaferro counties in a variety of community settings. These gardens vary in size and form to meet the specific needs of the local communities and are cared for by local community members.
Over the past 23 months, 1,124 hours of garden work has been donated by local community members. Community garden members also report improved access to healthy food, increased feelings of belonging and community unity, and enhanced feelings of community responsibility. Healthier Together has also been able to work with a local food pantry to increase their capacity to store fresh and frozen produce items in Calhoun County.
Beyond the success of the Community Garden project, Healthier Together has also been able to increase access to physical activity opportunities in our counties. Calhoun County will be installing musical equipment in two local parks, Walkability Signage has been installed in at least one community in each county, and walk audits have been completed in every county.
UGA’s College of Environment and Design has been working in Dooly and Taliaferro counties to produce land use plans for counties, which is an invaluable service to these counties. Healthier Together also released as series of virtual workouts designed to be done at home this year that reached over 48,000 viewers. We are so excited to continue to build on these successes to create sustainable food systems and physical activity opportunities in our Healthier Together counties.