IRVINE, Calif.–It’s never too early to develop healthy habits. Now, thousands of children throughout California will have an opportunity to learn about fresh fruits and vegetables with their very own school garden through a grant from the Western Growers Foundation.
The Foundation previously awarded $600 grants to 100 California Head Start Centers thanks to a generous grant from the California Department of Food and Agriculture. As the gardens grew, the Foundation produced a video “Seven Tips for Head-Start and Pre-school Edible Gardens” to help other Head Start centers and preschools establish a garden. The video is a valuable resource, providing first-hand testimony to the success that comes with having a school garden.
“If they grow it, they’ll eat it” – that’s become the Foundation’s mantra, said Paula Olson, Director of the Foundation. “The Foundation’s goal is to establish an edible garden in every willing California and Arizona school,” Olson said. “In these gardens, we are able to help children learn where their food comes from and the importance of good nutrition.”
From planting the seeds, to harvesting and even maintaining the garden, there’s a learning opportunity around every corner. “They’re learning about plants coming from seeds; they’re learning about the needs of the plants [and] how they can take care of them,” said Marilyn I’anson with Head Start Coronel Center in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Teachers say those lessons also include patience, something that’s important to teach children.
“That idea of waiting, too, that’s such an important thing,” I’anson said. “When they see the fruit come out, they want to eat it. They’re learning to turn it over and say ‘nope, not quite ready yet.’”
Since 2002, The Foundation has awarded grants to more than 650 schools. More information about the School Garden Program, including how you can donate or apply for a grant, is available online.
About Western Growers Foundation:
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 and www.csgn.org
For interviews, contact:
Stephanie A. Wilken,