IRVINE, CA (July 14, 2009) — Tomorrow, Western Growers Foundation (WGF) will be providing the tools and resources necessary for ten school gardens to take root in the Grand Canyon State.
WGF, made possible through contributions from the Arizona Department of Agriculture, is providing $45,000.00 over three years for 30 Arizona teachers annually to attend a continuing education workshop hosted by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County. The workshop is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, July 15, at the University of AZ Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County at 4341 E. Broadway in Phoenix.
“Many schools and teachers want to have gardens in their school but may not have the necessary knowledge and expertise,” said Monica Pastor, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County director. “Gardens are an ideal way to take science, math, nutrition and language arts lessons and give them a real world application.”
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension hosts the workshop, which is taught by University of Arizona faculty and Master Gardener volunteers. Schools are selected by WGF, following the May 1 application deadline, to participate in the day-long workshop. WGF is also providing $1,250.00 and an irrigation kit for each school to kick off its garden.
“We are thrilled to once again be partnering with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension to provide tools and skills for Arizona teachers who are eager to start gardens at their schools,” said Western Growers Foundation Administrator Briana Lewis. “Western Growers Foundation is committed to helping Arizona’s students reconnect with their food source and establish healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. This workshop and the accompanying resources will go a long way toward constructing sustainable learning centers young Arizonans will enjoy for many years in to the future.”
This year, WGF awarded grants to 10 Arizona schools, including: Mountain View Elementary School in Waddell, Mesa View Elementary in Chile, Arts Academy of Mesa in Mesa, Pinnacle Presbyterian Preschool in Scottsdale, Liberty Elementary School in Tucson, Connolly Middle School in Tempe, Collier Elementary in Avondale, Manzanita Elementary in Phoenix, Estes Elementary in Marana, Faith North Montessori in Phoenix and Navajo Elementary School in Scottsdale.
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.
Western Growers is an agricultural trade association whose nearly 3,000 members from Arizona and California grow, pack and ship ninety percent of the fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables grown in California and seventy five percent of those commodities in Arizona. This totals about half of the nation’s fresh produce.