Communities across South Carolina have been witnessing the economic impact of healthy eating and active living initiatives, and more communities are taking note of the importance of such resources. In Greenwood County, the local coalition has played an important role in making healthy lifestyles a priority for local leaders. Over the past few years, Eat Smart Move More (ESMM) Greenwood County has taken advantage of funding opportunities and programs to enhance trails, cycling, and farmers’ market opportunities.
At the Uptown Market in Greenwood, Market Manager Stephanie Turner capitalized on one such opportunity to increase business, support local farmers, and increase access to healthy produce. She was instrumental in implementing Healthy Bucks at the market, a SNAP rewards program that allows SNAP customers to purchase more produce at participating farmers markets.
“In the fall of 2017, Uptown Market began distributing the Healthy Bucks program and has successfully grown the program for the past year,” says Stephanie.
In addition to running the market, Stephanie also serves on ESMM Greenwood County where she actively participates in the planning and implementation of both healthy eating and active living projects. The coalition was able to secure funding to support projects like hosting a childhood obesity summit, launching a pilot program that combines the Cooking Matters and Faithful Families programs, and developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan.
The master plan was developed to provide city and county officials with a blueprint of major active community environment needs. The plan also provided community survey results indicating 89 percent of those surveyed said they wanted improved conditions for activities.
“There is a growing movement around bicycling in our community, and the local penny sales tax initiative will support improvements to one of our regularly used trails. The City of Greenwood and the Parks and Trails Foundation continue to support projects benefitting cyclists,” says Stephanie.
Part of the revenue raised from the penny sales tax is allocated for parks and recreation projects such as construction of a pedestrian trail, construction of new parks, park improvements, and other initiatives that will help improve the health and fitness of the community and the local economy.
Let’s be clear. ESMM Greenwood County is made up of many community leaders who have a real passion for improving their community. For Stephanie, she sees herself as more of a facilitator of the coalition’s activities. Others see it differently.
“Stephanie is an effective leader because she has the ability to inspire others and mobilize various members of the community to a tee,” says Shanikque Blackwell, ESMM Greenwood County member. “She has the ability to empathize with the community she serves and is always looking for ways to fight the disparities within that community.”
However you see it, Stephanie and all of her peers on the coalition and throughout the community are taking charge and leading Greenwood County towards a healthier community.