Morgan County family nutrition program promotes healthy lifestyle

West Virginia

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.VA. (WDVM) — A Morgan County program is taking the lead in West Virginia to promote home and school gardening for healthy eating and nutrition in a creative way.

West Virginia University’s extension educator, Amie Tutor, is directing a statewide effort to promote health and nutrition, in partnership with the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It promotes sustainable systems, composting and is especially helpful to those in rural communities which have no, or limited access, to a grocery store. In Morgan County, the “Starting Points” program is working with schools and families in the eastern panhandle.

“The program will serve the senior center and its Starting Points initiative for play groups to have an outdoor classroom and learning atmosphere,” Tutor says. And the outreach is all-encompassing no matter where one lives in the rural outposts of Morgan County.

“We really feel like gardening is something that spans all ages, all philosophies, all belief systems, so everyone can come together and agree that you can grow a tomato and have fun doing it,” says Tina Badley with the Starting Points initiative.

It’s a tremendous benefit to the community, even with the restrictions imposed by social distancing. And Tutor is launching a Grow West Virginia garden challenge. She and her team are visiting families, even in remote locations, where convenient travel to a farmers’ market may be limited.

“The program is handicap accessible so that all groups are able to use it and they can learn about gardening and the therapy that comes with getting your hands in the dirt,” Tutor says.

Those wishing to support the program can go to www.Starting-Points.org.

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