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Making Savannah healthier by returning to our roots
The CRI Healthy Garden at Trustees’ Garden
The Canyon Ranch Institute Savannah Partnership with Connect Savannah and Charles H. and Rosalie Morris was announced at a luncheon at the Morris Center at Trustees’ Garden on Feb. 19. Led by Canyon Ranch Institute but engaging a broad range of Savannah residents, businesses, and organizations, this partnership will offer the Canyon Ranch Institute Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP) at Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, a cooking demo called CRI Healthy Table, a community garden program called CRI Healthy Garden, and an arts-based program called Theater for Health. From left: CRI LEP Core Team member C. MeGill Brown, pastor at Second African Baptist Church, and member and Chair of the Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care Board of Directors; Edna Branch Jackson, Mayor of Savannah; Charles H. Morris, Founder of Morris Multimedia; Rosalie Morris, wife of Charles H. Morris; Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., FACS, President of the Canyon Ranch Institute Board of Directors; Albert Grandy, CPA, CEO of Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care, and CRI LEP Co-Champion; and Andrew Pleasant, Ph.D., Senior Director for Health Literacy and Research at Canyon Ranch Institute.

A LITTLE-KNOWN history lesson that started right here in Savannah is coming back to life – and you can help.

Trustees' Garden was established 280 years ago in Savannah by General James Oglethorpe in 1734. Until 1748, Trustees' Garden was set aside from Savannah as an experimental farm.

Today, Trustees' Garden will revive that history through the creation of a Canyon Ranch Institute Healthy Garden at Trustees' Garden with the support of Charles H. and Rosalie Morris and Connect Savannah.

Your help is needed to renew this important piece of local history. To revitalize this important part of Savannah by creating a community garden, we will also help make Savannah healthier by re-introducing the community to our shared history.

Originally, Trustees' Garden made Savannah a leader in finding ways to create a new land and a new world. Today, you can play a critical role in helping Trustees' Garden lead Savannah toward a healthier and sustainable future.

Originally, the location overlooking the Savannah River was dedicated to botany and agriculture, reflecting the scientific and commercial aspirations of the day. Today, we can join together to use science, community-based agriculture, and commerce to lead Savannah out of the so-called 'Stroke Belt' causing so much chronic disease, disability, early death, and preventable sorrow.

Over the centuries since Trustees' Garden was founded, it has served as home to a long succession of the industrial and social drivers that helped forge today's Savannah. The site has been home to a foundry, Kehoe Iron Works, and a coal gas generation plant.

The transformation of Trustees' Garden from industry to culture reflects the potential for Savannah to emerge as a city leading the nation toward wellness and away from the challenges of obesity and preventable chronic diseases like stroke and type 2 diabetes.

The current plans for the future of Trustees' Garden are perfectly in line with the newly announced effort to create a community garden driven by volunteer participation. The Savannah Gardeners Urban Alliance (SUGA) will provide technical assistance and support for the CRI Healthy Garden at Trustees' Garden, but to truly succeed the program needs your participation and support.

The Charles H. Morris Center, the ongoing efforts to revitalize the Kehoe building, and the plans to create a community garden with your assistance will converge to lay the groundwork for continued emergence of high-quality, creative activities and rich experiences for residents and visitors to Savannah at Trustees' Garden.

The newly announced effort to create a CRI Healthy Garden at Trustees' Garden is but one of many activities planned for the space that will transform Trustees' Garden into an increasingly vital part of Savannah's future. This effort will encourage individuals, families, schools, businesses, faith communities, and social groups to produce new ideas and grow their ventures in healthy and sustainable directions.

The plan is to foster healthy lifestyles through eating healthy foods, managing stress, moving your body, enjoying art and stimulating conversations, and being happier with your life.

As this effort to help Savannah become healthier continues to grow, Trustees' Garden will become a great location in Savannah to experience and enjoy:

•A vibrant community of creative businesses.

• Art, history, music, food, cultural activities, physical activity, fun and laughter, festivals, and special events.

• A place where you and your family and friends can safely relax, sit, stroll, and play while learning about health and wellness through hands-on and educational opportunities.

From its earliest history, Trustees' Garden has been an integral part of Savannah. You can join this effort by helping Canyon Ranch Institute (CRI) plan, create, maintain, and sustain the CRI Healthy Garden at Trustees' Garden. The goal is to help everyone learn to produce and enjoy access fresh fruit and vegetables.

The CRI Healthy Garden at Trustees' Garden will also become a special place that encourages meditation, quite reflection, and prayer. Health is more than the absence of disease, it is a resource for living a well-directed, productive, and happy life. Trustees' Gardens will nourish and grow health with the goal of sharing it with all residents of Savannah.

In truth, food is often best described as love. We all love Savannah. The best way to reflect that love is not through too much food, or food that is too fatty, too salty, or too processed.

The best way to reflect that love is through nutritious food in amounts that will help the city grow and sustain itself in a healthy fashion. Let's all work together to create that movement within Savannah. cs

Any and all people with interest and motivation are encouraged to volunteer to help support this effort. Please visit the CRI website at, email, Tweet @CRIHealthyWorld, or call CRI in Savannah at (912) 443-3264.