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Life and Religion

J.C. Smith University earns $100,000 prize for food insecurity initiative
Grant for expansion of Sustainability Village
 
Published Thursday, May 2, 2019 4:03 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

COURTESY PHILIP OTIENOBURU
Johnson C. Smith University's Sustainability Village earned a $100,000 grant to address food insecurity from the American Heart Association.

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Sustainability Village can reach more people than ever.

Johnson C. Smith University’s program to address food insecurity earned a $100,000 American Heart Association grant on April 29. They are one of two HBCUs to receive the grant. Winston-Salem State University is the other. Five HBCUs of the 19 who applied were selected in February to compete earlier this week. Other contenders included Bennet College, Howard University and Virginia State University. They competed at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, presenting solutions to eradicate health barriers to a panel of judges. The grant is part of the American Heart Association’s inaugural EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator—HBCU Healthy Community Challenge Showcase.

“Every member of our community should be able to achieve well-being supported by the places they live, learn, work, pray, and heal,” Jeremy Beauchamp, executive vice president at American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Affiliate said in a statement. “We are excited to work alongside HBCUs to increase the opportunity for all of our neighbors to live longer, healthier lives.”

Smith will use the two-year grant to address not only health on campus, but the surrounding community.

“We submitted a proposal to the American Heart Association to conduct a project within the community,” said professor Philip Otienoburu, director for the Center of Renewable Energy & Sustainability at JCSU. “We emerged victorious. The students came back with a check for $100,000 to advance their idea, which is an expansion of what they already do at Sustainability Village.”

Sustainability Village includes raised beds for planting, an aquaponics facility where tilapia are raised in a closed loop system, and a beehive. While Sustainability Village produce has a presence at local farmers markets, access to fresh and healthy food in the community remains an issue.

“The students would expand on what they already do at Sustainability Village,” Otienoburu said. “What they hope to do is include a mobile food delivery unit. They already participate in farmers markets, but that does not reach everyone. We still see barriers for people to get to the markets or convenience issues for when the market operates. We would like to go a little further and deliver food to different stations within the most affected communities.”

At Winston-Salem State, which also earned a two-year grant, the focus will be placed on addressing chronic disease rates in low-income areas with food security as a potential solution.

“This grant helps to set the foundation for the impact that our HBCU can make in underserved communities,” Marian Anderson-Booker, WSSU’s research project coordinator for Department of Health, Physical Education and Sport Studies said in a statement. 

The Barbara Houston Historically Black Colleges and Universities Legacy Award and John Houston III funded the inaugural American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED to Serve Urban Health Accelerator – HBCU Community Wellness Challenge.

 

Comments

Great for the school as well as for the community! Wonderful!
Posted on May 8, 2019
 
Congratulations ?This is great!
Posted on May 2, 2019
 

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