During the 2014 back to school timeframe, Project Learning Garden will grow dramatically due to a new partnership with Pratt Industries that will expand the program nationally. Starting Sept. 2, any U.S. K-5 teacher or school garden support organization can download Project CPF's Learning Garden lessons and order a classroom lesson supply kit to use in their school garden, at cost (about $1,000, funded by the school's private fundraising, a local corporate partner, or a CPF grant).
Pratt has established an e-commerce platform enabling teachers to download lessons and a fulfillment center to assemble and ship school garden lesson kits (initially for grades K-5) and mobile cooking carts. Pratt, America's fifth-largest corrugated packaging company, will donate ordering, assembling, housing, and same-day shipping.
Also on Sept. 2, FoodCorps, a national farm to school organization that connects children in underserved communities to real food, will expand to Georgia, where Georgia Organics will serve as its official state host organization. (FoodCorps, part of the AmeriCorps Service Network, is adding Georgia and Washington, D.C. to its 15-state program.) Eight FoodCorps service members will dedicate one year of full-time public service in school food systems, working with service site organizations CPF, the Athens Land Trust and Northeast Georgia Farm to School Program. Service members will expand hands-on nutrition education programs, build and tend school gardens, and bring high-quality local foods into school cafeterias.
Kyla Van Deusen, CPF's Project Learning Gardens program manager, says, "One key element often overlooked in getting kids to eat better is the importance of how they eat at school. Kids learn how to enjoy fruits, vegetables and salads as a part of lunch, and this program has a direct impact on developing their palates from an early age. That palate development can also have an impact on how their parents eat, home meal preparation, and on childhood obesity. Parents often report that their children ask them to buy new vegetables at the grocery store after growing and cooking the veggies themselves as part of a school garden program. One five-year-old said she preferred eating raw Brussels sprouts in the garden to her sour gummy worm treat!"
CPF funds environmental education and stewardship programs for K-12 kids around the U.S. and the world. It was co-founded by media mogul Ted Turner in 1991 and is now chaired by his daughter, Laura Turner Seydel. CPF's Project Learning Garden program helps teachers substitute an engaging hands-on lesson in the garden for a textbook-driven lesson in the classroom - while teaching the same required curriculum standard in math, science, social studies, health or language arts.
CPF's Project Learning Garden funders and partners include Pratt Industries, Dole Foods, Kendeda Fund, Kaiser Permanente, James M. Cox Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Institute for America's Health, Keep America Beautiful, Vitamix Foundation, Publix Supermarkets, Wells Fargo, SCANA Energy and the Atlanta Community Food Bank.
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