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Growing healthier lives

Deanna Wilkinson can’t help but smile as she looks around the room: The program she started in 2015 is flourishing, and today a group of kids is harvesting crops and learning about healthful diets.

Wilkinson, an associate professor in Ohio State’s Department of Human Sciences, spent two decades studying gun violence among urban youth. But she eventually wanted to focus on prevention, leading her to start Urban G.E.M.S. (Gardening Entrepreneurs Motivating Sustainability), a program that focuses on teaching inner-city kids how to care for and harvest gardens.

Here, she explains the secret to the program’s success.

The Urban G.E.M.S. project in Columbus, Ohio, is making a difference at families' tables and in the community at large.