School programs to cultivate children’s taste for fresh, healthful produce and engage them in learning experiences that gardens have to offer will be supported next year by grants from a new local nonprofit organization.
Yolo Farm to Fork will award $10,000 in grants to Yolo County elementary schools that apply and are selected to participate in the “Taste Our Garden” initiative.
The grants are targeting schools serving low-income populations that are fighting childhood obesity. According to the Davis-based California Center for Public Health Advocacy, more than 43 percent of children in Woodland and West Sacramento under the age of 18 are obese. Most vulnerable are low-income families that tend to eat processed foods high in salt, sugar and fat, leaving children undernourished as well as obese.
To combat childhood obesity and its health issues, Yolo Farm to Fork is launching the “Taste Our Garden” initiative. Sponsored by Sutter Davis Hospital, 10 grants of up to $1,000 will be awarded to schools that apply and are selected to participate.
“Children love to garden and to eat what they grow,” said Suzanne Falzone, vice president of the organization and a Woodland resident. “Even more, school gardens can provide sensory and problem-solving experiences that link to every area of classroom curriculum.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to expand garden learning for elementary schools in Yolo County, and grateful to Sutter Davis Hospital for partnering with us in this effort.”
Yolo Farm to Fork will provide participating schools with grant funds, seeds, plant starts, organic mulch, weed control bark, training and technical assistance in planting, growing and tasting.
All elementary schools in the county are eligible, and the highest priority will be given to schools in which 50 percent or more students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
Participating schools must agree, among other requirements, to have students work in a new or existing edible school garden, to have students taste at least five different garden-grown vegetables, to implement a “Taste Our Garden” event in May, and to sustain an edible garden throughout the summer.
Applications will be emailed to elementary school principals in Woodland and West Sacramento and may be downloaded from the Yolo Farm to Fork website at http://bit.ly/JlNYNa.
Applications must be received at email@example.com by 5 pm on Jan. 15. Grant winners will be notified within three weeks of the deadline.
Yolo Farm to Fork is a nonprofit organization that represents all of the communities in Yolo County and is dedicated to bringing locally grown farm-fresh food to school lunches, establishing recycling programs, supporting school and community gardens, and helping Yolo County residents get to know where their food comes from and the farmers who grow it.