Charlotte N.C.- October 11th, 2019, representatives from the American Heart Association, including Charlotte’s Lead Heart Director, T.C. Scott, and Yvette Mingo, Vice President of Multicultural Development, Bruns Elementary teachers, and community leaders toured Sustainability Village, JCSU’s farm. The day before, on October 10th, Bruns Elementary leaders and teachers gave JCSU and the American Heart Association a tour of their own on-campus gardens. The effort is part of a site visit for the JCSU student-led Grow with the Green program, which addresses food insecurity in Charlotte’s historic West End. The program, has 3 major goals:
1. Providing mobile delivery service in partnership with the Bulb and Atrium Health,
2. Expanding Sustainability Village in partnership with the City of Charlotte, and
3. Building the pipeline through mentoring and support in partnership with Bruns Elementary school.
“Grow with the Green is all about supporting the community towards dropping the grease for the greens and achieving better health outcomes,” said Brenda Montanez, co-project lead of the program and Biology major with triple minor in Bioinformatincs, Computer Science, and Chemistry and JCSU’s SGA Vice President.
Other student leaders who have built the program are co-project lead Zabidel Escalona, a senior majoring in Information Systems Engineering, Dana Battle, a junior majoring in Biology and Chemistry, Giavanni St. George, a junior and dual major in Biology and Chemistry, Zaira Jackie, a senior majoring in Information Systems Engineering, and Kelvin Simon, a senior and Biology major. Their advisor is Dr. Tara Bengle, who leads Smith Institute for Applied Research’s Community Research effort.
“One thing we have noticed on each of our visits is the number of math and science majors, and the kindness of faculty and staff of JCSU. These are unique and hidden features of JCSU that may not be obvious to key people and business leaders in the Charlotte region,” Chris Hardin, P.E. and Managing Director of Rivendell Farms said of the tour.
The program began in July with interactive workshops to educate Bruns Elementary students on Food Insecurities in our community. In this phase of the project, the JCSU student team is laying the groundwork for the implementation of the mobile food market and is in the initial phases of planning events to educate the community about the importance of healthy eating habits and the benefits of eating well.