June is National Pollinators Month, so what better time to shine a light on our partners at The Bee Cause Project.
In 2011, we kicked off our Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grant program, and now 11 years later, we’re thrilled to announce that 500 more garden grants — each worth $3,000 — will be awarded to schools and nonprofit organizations starting or expanding their edible learning spaces. This $1.5 million investment will support more than 300,000 students by providing garden grants in 49 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and nine Canadian provinces!
The Garden Grant program provides grants to K-12 schools to grow educational gardens on school grounds. Nonprofit recipients supporting children’s programming are funded to support edible learning spaces in non-school environments such as community gardens, libraries, museums or after-school programs.
Since the Garden Grant program launched, Whole Kids Foundation has awarded funding for more than 7,500 edible gardens, investing $17 million and benefiting more than 4.9 million students.
“School gardens are vibrant powerful tools that feed kids in more than one way. These multidisciplinary learning spaces connect students with real food, spark their curiosity, encourage meaningful learning experiences and inspire life-long healthy eating habits.”
When schools and nonprofit organizations turn outdoor spaces into hands-on, nature-based learning environments, healthy kids grow. Nona Evans, President and Executive Director of Whole Kids Foundation, explains, “School gardens are vibrant powerful tools that feed kids in more than one way. These multidisciplinary learning spaces connect students with real food, spark their curiosity, encourage meaningful learning experiences and inspire life-long healthy eating habits.”
Research shows that students who participate in gardening, nutrition and cooking classes eat more fruits and vegetables per day than they did before the program. Edible gardens also support a wide range of classroom curriculums including science, nutrition, math and art. They have shown to improve children’s academic performance, behavior at school and appreciation for the environment.
This year we received more than 1,200 garden grant applications. For garden grant applicants that were not funded this year, Whole Kids Foundation partner Lettuce Grow is providing 600 hydroponic growing systems (Farmstands) to schools and nonprofits in select areas. Recipients will also receive a seedling starter pack and an essentials kit with nutrients and other supplies. Lettuce Grow’s contributions (valued at $360,000!) will allow schools and nonprofits to grow fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs and use their Farmstands as a learning tool.
We also value the generous contributions from like-minded sponsors like CLIF Bar, GoGo SqueeZ, Happy Family Organics, Horizon Organic, Kettle Brand, Orgain, Purely Elizabeth, Santa Cruz Organic, Stonyfield Organic and Tom's of Maine. We encourage you to shop these brands that give back because we can’t do this without them!
We open the garden grant window each year in February, and grant notifications are made in August. Interested in learning more? Read up on eligibility requirements and get inspired by success stories by visiting our Garden Grant page. Plus, you can discover grantees in your area by searching our Grant Recipients Database.
More Ways to Learn
In partnership with The Bee Cause Project, we are also opening the grant application window for Bee Grants on September 1, 2022. These grant programs allow for schools and nonprofit organizations to receive support for educational beehives and bee programming so students can observe bees up close and learn about the vital role pollinators play in the food system.
Additionally, we offer online resources for families including activities, book recommendations, worksheets and other inspiration to encourage healthier food choices.