Take a tour of Old Rucker Farm and see how a property with knee-high weeds and a couple of apple trees has grown into a community-centered, educational, organic farm that provides food, classes, gardening opportunities, and a creative learning space.
We're excited to announce our partners at Lettuce Grow have offered to donate 1,000 Lettuce Grow Farmstands, a commitment of over $500,000, to K-12 schools and school garden-support organizations across the U.S. By growing with the Lettuce Grow Farmstand, students will both have access to an abundant yield of nutritiously alive produce and learn more about how they can positively impact the planet.
This fall, we received over 1,400 applicants for our annual Garden Grant program—the most we have ever received in one year. Through our partnership, Lettuce Grow was able to further support the U.S.-based garden grant applicants—whether they received a grant or not—by offering the option to receive a Lettuce Grow Farmstand. More than 900 schools and nonprofits supporting children’s programming opted in, which will allow them to grow fresh produce and use Lettuce Grow’s hydroponic growing system as an edible learning space. Recipients will also receive both a seedling starter pack and growing essentials toolkit with supplies to maintain their Farmstands.
"Hands-on learning gardens like the Lettuce Grow Farmstand are powerful tools for sparking curiosity, improving childhood nutrition and creating life-long healthy eating habits. Simply put, when kids have a hand in growing fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to try them, enjoy them and inspire other kids to do the same. Additionally, kids who grow up enjoying fruits and vegetables are more likely to continue eating them through adulthood. Thanks to Lettuce Grow, schools and nonprofits across the country can help their students get a jumpstart on a lifetime of enjoying real, healthy food."
Lettuce Grow understands there is an urgent need for action, to re-think our food system and to protect the environment, and sees the long-term solution in giving consumers the tools to lead the transition to a sustainable food system. To work towards this goal, founders and co-parents Jacob Pechenik and Zooey Deschanel introduced the Farmstand - a self-watering, self-fertilizing system that allows everyone to grow 20% of their own fresh food with no pesticides and 95% less water than traditional agriculture.
“Our youth plays a critical role in helping reshape our future. They are a true force for change. Our aim is to educate, empower, and activate the next generation and provide them access to fresh foods,” said Jacob Pechenik, CEO & Founder of Lettuce Grow. “Whole Kids Foundation is a true catalyst for change, and we are thrilled to continue working with them to support schools and inspire families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. Through the power of collaboration, we can change mindsets and revolutionize the food system. The partnership between Lettuce Grow and Whole Kids Foundation strengthens our mission to create true impact, to reconnect students to healthier food, and to lead the transition to a more sustainable environment and future.”
Since 2019, we have worked with Lettuce Grow through its Lettuce Give program’s 1-for-10 Partnership to grant one Farmstand to K-12 schools and community organizations for every 10 sold. The benefits of school gardens extend far beyond childhood nutrition. School gardens are also shown to increase children’s academic performance and behavior at school and improve their attitudes about and appreciation for the environment. Experiential learning, which is learning by doing, also helps kids understand concepts in a real-world context.
This announcement comes on the heels of our 10th anniversary celebration and annual Growing Healthy Kids Campaign, during which we raised a total of $988,980 online and via Whole Foods Market store checkouts. Every dollar donated will go toward funding the our programs, including future garden grants. In line with our annual campaign, we awarded $3 million in garden grants, in addition to the $500,000 given by Lettuce Grow —1,000 grants of $3,000 each—to schools and nonprofits across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.