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Fordland Clinic Receives Grant for Gardening Project

This week, Fordland Clinic hosted a kick-off event to celebrate a grant it received to go toward a new program called “Healthy Roots Along Route 60”. KSMU’s Theresa Carter has details.

Opening the glass door at the Fordland Clinic, one is met by smiling faces and a normal waiting room atmosphere. Not far off to the side is a mural of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger in the children’s play area. This clinic in Fordland, Missouri offers its community many routine medical and dental services. However the clinic is targeting preventative health care in new ways through its “Healthy Roots” project.

With child obesity rates on the rise, one of the missions of the Fordland Clinic is to encourage healthy eating and lifestyles for children and their families. Kids from area schools in Rogersville, Fordland, Seymour and Mansfield, team up with the clinic and other community groups to plant gardens and produce healthy food. Becki Knobloch is health education manager at Fordland Clinic.

"The goal of the project is to reduce obesity and to do that by teaching kids to have a more active lifestyle. Learning to enjoy growing things will help to reduce time 'screen time'. For example if kids grow a beet themselves, then they might be more willing to try it. Rather than if their mother plopped some beets on their plate that they've never seen before."

Knobloch says the hope is that both kids and adults will become excited about gardening and food production. She believes it’s more important than many people realize.

"Missouri used to produce all of its own food. It is only in more recent years that we've started to import all of our food. And that's not a good situation. For example, if the trucking industry went on strike, within 3 days we'd be without food in the Ozarks."

The event to celebrate the kick off of “Healthy Roots” project took place on Wednesday, celebrating the first installment of a $325 thousand dollar grant received from Missouri Foundation for Health and Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Christine Giddings, outreach and development coordinator at Fordland Clinic, explains.

"The project has just started as of November 1st, and we invited all of our community partners. This involves Fordland, Rogersville, Mansfield, and Seymour. We invited them along with our funders, in order to recognize them and share what everyone has been working on."

This funding is scheduled to span over the next three years, but the overall goal is to make this an ongoing sustainable project for the future.

"Over all it's a very exciting project because it is a 'win-win' for everyone involved. No matter which way you look at it. For the kids it's a great educational experience that teaches them new skills and healthier eating. Everybody benefits from that. And it spans four communities, so it will touch so many people."

For more information about this project, you can call Fordland Clinic at (417) 767-2273.

For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Carter.