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Whole Kids Foundation taking root with school garden grant program

Whole Foods Market to hold donation drive to fund gardening opportunities for children

Whole Kids Foundation in partnership with FoodCorps is now accepting online grant applications for the School Garden Grant Program, which will be funded by a six-week, in-store donation drive at all Whole Foods Market stores, and online at wholekidsfoundation.org. The donation drive started August 17th and ends on September 30th. The Foundation will be accepting grant applications through Dec. 31, 2011, and recipients will be notified in February 2012.

Created to help schools grow students’ relationships with food through gardening, the new program stems from the nonprofit’s mission of supporting schools’ efforts to improve children’s nutrition. Through the Whole Kids School Garden Grant Program, the Foundation and partner FoodCorps will offer $2,000 grants, along with curriculum, resources and mentorship, to 1,000 schools.  FoodCorps’ expertise in gardening, and its ongoing support will help schools build and sustain their gardens to ensure long-term success. All schools and garden-related nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply for grants to support the launch or expansion of school gardens.

“The School Garden Grant Program makes nutritious foods and healthy-eating education relevant and exciting for kids, and it extends learning outside the classroom,” said Walter Robb, Whole Foods Market co-CEO and Whole Kids Foundation board chairman. “Gardens are such a magical place. As kids see plants growing and coming to life and they 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 relationship between food and nourishment real.”

From now through September, shoppers can donate to the project at store checkouts or online through wholekidsfoundation.org. In addition to $2,000, each grant recipient will receive a copy of “How to Grow a School Garden” by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Pringle, and a digital garden kit that includes an online resource center, discounts for gardening supplies from various partners, and ongoing opportunities for mentoring and support from FoodCorps.  The Foundation will be accepting grant applications through Dec. 31, 2011, and recipients will be notified in February 2012.

The garden grants will be awarded to local schools, districts and garden-related nonprofit organizations through an online grant process, which will be administered by the Whole Kids Foundation and FoodCorps. 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, proposed budget and timeline for the project, goals for the garden and an explanation of how students will be engaged.Whole Kids Foundation

“FoodCorps is thrilled to partner with Whole Kids Foundation to provide more children an opportunity to discover the joys of growing food, in turn establishing lifelong healthy-eating habits,” said Curt Ellis, Executive Director of FoodCorps.

For more information on the Foundation, ways parents can engage their schools, and how to apply for a school garden grant, visit: wholekidsfoundation.org.

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