Kristi Falk is on a mission: “to get people in the area healthier.”
The former owner of a health food store in Conway, Falk parlayed that experience first into five years of putting on the Wellness Expo of Myrtle Beach at the city’s convention center. From there, she founded the Wellness Council for South Carolina in 2006. The nonprofit council seeks to teach local residents how to be healthy people in all aspects of their lives, whether nutrition or recycling, exercise or emotions.
The main focus of Falk’s group these days is Green SPARK, an afterschool program at Whittemore Park Middle School in Conway. Falk and her group, which comprises about a dozen volunteers as well as interns from Coastal Carolina University, teaches students about healthy eating, taking care of the planet and promotes general wellness.
The students, which met for their first class this semester last week, are growing the first garden at the school this year. Falk is leaving what to plant up to the students, who she said have already asked for eggplant, squash, broccoli and lettuce.
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“It makes me happy that kids are wanting to eat healthy,” Falk said last week, “and if we can start young, maybe we can stem the tide of the health crisis.”
The Wellness Council is currently looking for donors interested in helping with the garden, particularly companies that may be interested in assisting in its construction.
It’s hard to compete these days with french fries, pizza and soda, but getting kids involved in growing their own vegetables is a wonderful way of making healthy eating exciting, and Falk and her team are to be commended.
Besides educating students, the Wellness Council also recently kicked off a series of Web-based seminars on health that Falk hopes will spread healthy ideas to adults throughout the region – and perhaps beyond.
The group also puts on workshops when requested. A local Baptist church, for example, interested in the health of its congregation, has asked the group to make quarterly presentations to its members.
You might not be ready to plant your own eggplant, but Falk rightfully pointed out that even the smallest decision can improve your health and is worth your time.
“Even just deciding to just drink more water every day is a step in the right direction.”