Community coalitions play an integral part in increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables and places to be physically active. Building a strong coalition means having the right players on board who are engaged in the process. Government, public health, school, and healthcare professionals are all good partners to have on your coalition. But, what about farmers?
In Lee County, there’s a farmer who has taken the lead in improving access to fresh fruits and vegetables. George Roberts, a Lee County native and lifelong farmer, has been helping local leaders improve healthy eating in their community. For the past three years, he has been volunteering as the Lee County Farm & Garden manager.
Managing a farmer’s market is quite involved. George is responsible for coordinating vendors, ensuring vendors are prepared for the weekly market, marketing and promoting the market and its activities to the community, and acting as a liaison to the Chamber of Commerce. He also serves on the Lee County Farm and Garden Committee, where all of the planning takes place.
According to Regina NeSmith, George is passionate about agriculture and farming, and he’s passionate about Lee County. He provides guidance and wisdom on subjects related to agriculture, and he’s seen as a leader in his community.
Not only does George manage the farmer’s market and serve on the Farm and Garden Committee, but he’s also a member of the Rural Leadership Institute Interagency Council and actively participates on the Blueprint for Health Leadership Team. Blueprint for Health is a grant through the SC Office of Rural Health to help rural communities build and enhance leadership teams, develop and implement community projects focused on the social determinants of health, and create a long-term vision for community health for all.
By getting involved and having the drive and ambition to see his community improve on all levels, George Roberts has expanded his knowledge and experience in coalition building and public health. Now, he’s more than just a farmer. He’s a good example of finding the right people to serve on community coalitions.