Community Leader: Allison Harvey, Town of Clover

Clover, SC (Mar. 2018) Through the years, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina (ESMMSC) has worked with exceptional individuals who understand local challenges facing their communities, and have the passion and the vision to create opportunities where people can make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, play and pray. ESMMSC is recognizing these individuals, who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues, to showcase their commitment to making the healthy choice, the easy choice.

Tucked in the hills of York County is Clover, a small community of motivated residents who want to make healthier choices. Among those residents is Town Administrator Allison Harvey who works to lead her community and her family towards a healthier life with more healthy food options and more opportunities to be physically active.

“Personally, healthy eating and active living is important to me because I want to live a long and healthy life,” says Harvey. “Professionally, I understand the benefits a healthy lifestyle can afford my staff and the Town’s citizens. So many diseases can be prevented and managed with improved eating habits and exercise.”

As town administrator, Harvey is responsible for implementing programs and strategies to accomplish the goals set forth by the town council, among other things. Enter LiveWell Clover, a vision created out of the Town of Clover’s Comprehensive Plan, to promote community health through community programs. Such programs include Couch to 5K, Fit for Fall, LiveWell Clover 5K, Mayor’s Ride & Bike Rodeo, the town farmers’ market, yoga classes, and health and wellness community seminars.

Harvey says, “I have found that participants often start in one of the programs and then end up participating in one or more other LiveWell Clover activities. And they return each year!”

The Clover Town Council recently passed a Complete Streets policy, ensuring that future transportation and design projects will enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities. Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC) advocated for this policy, and Harvey happens to sit on the ESMMYC coalition. Harvey talked about the importance of partnerships involved in advocating for the policy adoption and what Clover’s residents can look forward to:

“I believe that the work of ESMMYC and LiveWell Clover and other active communities paved the way for the Town to embrace Complete Streets. I believe that implementation of Complete Streets will create safer and walkable passages in our community, help promote our community as a healthy place to live, provide opportunity for economic development, and create the space needed for everyday commuting and for exercise.”

Advocating for healthy change, taking care of town business, leading LiveWell Clover, and participating in town events aren’t all of Harvey’s tasks. She’s also been working with other staff members to develop a worksite wellness culture for all town employees. The town adopted a healthy meeting policy, where healthy food and beverage choices are available at meetings. On the community level, they’re considering providing healthy food and beverage choices at concessions stands.

“Having a program that encourages a healthy lifestyle, making small but meaningful changes in our operations, and generally elevating the conversation about the importance of wellness will continue to bring about positive improvements,” Harvey says.

The Town of Clover has a healthy team of employees and LiveWell Clover volunteers who want to make their community healthier, and they’re doing it. “If all LiveWell Clover does is influence someone to go out for a walk on a sunny afternoon or to grab an apple, then our efforts have been worthwhile,” says Harvey.