IRVINE (August 5, 2010) - Students at 20 Arizona schools will watch their school gardens flourish, as they head back to school this month, thanks to Western Growers Foundation (WGF) who partnered with the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), Agricultural Consultation and Training and, for the third year in a row, the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension (UACE) in Phoenix. Throughout the summer, the partnering organizations provided funding, tools and resources for these schools to raise or renovate gardens.
On Tuesday, WGF announced it had awarded $1,250 and a garden bed kit for 10 Arizona schools. ADA and Agricultural Consultation and Training assisted with this round of funding, using Specialty Crop Block Grant funds provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Most of these schools are preparing to either plant a school garden for the first time or are in the process of renovating older gardens.
“It’s really exciting that so many schools in Arizona are taking an interest in school gardens,” said WGF Administrator Briana Lewis. “WGF has funded more than 415 school gardens through the years in Arizona and California. This summer we have really taken great strides toward reaching our dream of seeing a garden take root in every Arizona and California school.”
Last week, WGF awarded ten Grand Canyon State schools with a $1,250 garden grant and a day-long professional development workshop for three teachers from each school. This program was funded, in part, by ADA, Agricultural Consultation and Training. UACE staff and Master Gardeners facilitated the day-long school garden training, giving Arizona teachers guidance, fresh ideas and resources to use in their school garden programs.
“We are focused on ensuring that the teachers and administrators who share our passion for school gardens have the knowledge and expertise needed to raise-up a successful outdoor classroom,” said Monica Pastor, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County director. “We believe that gardens are an ideal way to take science, math, nutrition and language arts lessons and give them a real world application.”
Western Growers Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that supports innovative nutrition education projects and programs to create healthy individuals and communities. These projects include online consumer education through Producepedia.com, school-age outreach with the School Garden Program, and efforts that increase access to fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts. Visit Western Growers Foundation at http://www.wga.com/wgf for more information.