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The Catalyst

Urban Farm celebrates one-year anniversary June 20

With the installation of new hand-forged gates by local artisan Sean Ahearn, all the components were in place for the dedication and one-year anniversary party of the MUSC Urban Farm.

The new hand-forged gates lead guests into the MUSC Urban Farm. The gates were created by Sean Ahearn, a local artisan.
The new hand-forged gates lead guests into the MUSC Urban Farm. The gates were created by Sean Ahearn, a local artisan.

The festivities, held June 20 in the Drug Discovery Building lobby, included remarks made by MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., and Susan Johnson, Ph.D., director of the Urban Farm. They traced the evolution of the project from its earliest kernel of an idea to fruition, recognizing the key players along the way and the contributions of the current leadership team.

With an initial donation of $10,000 in seed money, Brad Masteller, general manager of Sodexo, set in motion events that led to the existence of the project. Sodexo was also the caterer for the party, offering up farm-inspired healthy cuisine. The relaxed atmosphere was punctuated with music by Yeehaw Junction, a local bluegrass band.

Guests ventured outdoors to tour the Urban Farm, and afterward, a friend of the farm, Rick Malaspina, wrote a letter to the editor of The Post and Courier describing the farm as “a place of solace and relaxation for MUSC patients, employees, visitors and neighbors.”

Employee Wellness

  • Farmers markets: Fresh fruit and vegetables are available from local farmers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday at Ashley River Tower, and from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday at the Horseshoe.
  • Employee Fitness Series: On July 17 from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., Pilates will be offered. The total-body, non-impact workout stretches, strengthens and lengthens the body with an emphasis on the core muscles. This free class will be led by fitness expert Katie Blaylock from the MUSC Human Performance Lab. Participants should check in at the Wellness Center membership desk for directions to the class and will receive a free one-day pass to the center. E-mail to register.
  • Worksite screening: The screening will take place July 17 in the 2West classroom of the university hospital. Valued at about $350, the screening is available to employees and their spouses who have the State Health Plan for $15 each. Employees and spouses without this insurance can participate for $42. The screening includes: height, weight, blood pressure and a blood draw for a blood chemistry profile, hemogram, and a blood lipid profile. Note that the thyroid 4-panel is now a $10 optional test. To register, go to and click “Worksite Screening Appointment."
  • MUSC Healthy Challenge Tuesdays with the RiverDogs: Tuesday night games are geared toward promoting a healthy lifestyle and feature a sponsorship from the MUSC Wellness Center, Healthy Charleston Challenge and Urban Farm. Healthy concessions are available throughout the season, featuring the Urban Farm Veggie Taco, which is made from crops grown on the farm. Special discounted tickets to all Tuesday games, with reserved group seating for MUSC, are available online. Tickets must be purchased by noon the day of the game. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the game time is 7:05 p.m. To purchase discounted tickets, visit When prompted to enter the group password, type “healthy.” Stop by the MUSC table to enter a drawing for free Wellness Center passes.

Urban Farm

  • Early-bird maintenance: Get your day started with a little tender loving care on the farm from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., July 17.
  • Work and Learn with child friendly activities: On July 20 from 9 to 11 a.m., bring a plastic bag, and take home some fresh produce in return for work efforts on the farm or help gather for donations on certain days. Wear closed-toe shoes. No experience or prior knowledge is necessary. The event is open to everyone.

Email for information on the Office of Health Promotion, and email Suzan Benenson Whelan, at, for information on MUSC Employee Wellness.

July 10, 2013

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