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Whole Kids Foundation, in partnership with FoodCorps, is currently accepting online grant applications for its first major initiative: the School Garden Grant Program. Reflecting Whole Kids Foundation’s mission to support schools’ efforts to improve children’s nutrition, the program will promote students’ understanding of food and nourishment through gardening opportunities.
Up to 1,000 schools will be offered grants, along with curriculum, resources and mentorship.
“The School Garden Grant Program makes nutritious foods and healthy-eating education relevant and exciting for kids, and it extends learning outside the classroom,” says Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market co-CEO and Whole Kids Foundation board chairman.
From now until Sept. 30, shoppers can donate to the school garden project at all Whole Foods Market stores and online at wholekidsfoundation.org. All schools and garden-related nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for grants to support the launch or expansion of school gardens.
To apply, each school must secure a community partner that will help them sustain a long-term garden. The school must also provide basic background information, including a photo of its garden site, a proposed budget and timeline for the project, goals for the garden, and an explanation of how students will be engaged.
“FoodCorps is thrilled to partner with Whole Kids Foundation to provide more children [with] an opportunity to discover the joys of growing food, in turn establishing lifelong healthy-eating habits,” says Curt Ellis, executive director of FoodCorps.
According to research done at the UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools, access to a school garden:
- Improves knowledge of nutrition, food preferences, and consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Allows for the integration of multiple subject areas
- Enhances overall academic achievement
- Provides children with an understanding of agriculture and the environment
- Improves life skills, self-esteem, social skills and behavior
“Gardens are such magical places. As kids see plants growing and coming to life, they’ll realize that food doesn’t come out of a box or off a truck, but that it comes out of the ground from a seed; it makes the relationship between food and nourishment real,” Robb says.
For more information on Whole Kids Foundation, ways parents can engage their schools and how to apply for a school garden grant, visit: www.wholekidsfoundation.org.
To learn more about FoodCorps, visit www.foodcorps.org.