Last week, I wrote about the edible school yards that are popping up all over the country, giving kids access to fresh fruits and vegetables, supplementing classroom lessons on everything from science to reading, and giving kids a reason to get outdoors and stretch their legs while they're stretching their minds at school. It's something that I'm working on starting in my own community, and now a new federal grant may just give my efforts the boost they need to make this plan a reality.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced yesterday that it will award $1 million in grants for eligible schools to start community gardens. The goal of these grants is to teach students about nature and nutrition while providing fresh food for school meals and helping to supplement local food banks and senior centers.
It's all part of Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative to combat childhood obesity.According to the National Gardening Association, 15 to 20 percent of schools across the U.S. already have gardens and the hope is to boost that number even more.
The USDA grants, billed as the Peoples School Garden Pilot Program, will be awarded in up to five states. Check out the USDA website to see if your school might be eligible.