Where some people see a garden, Whole Kids Foundation sees a classroom.

We believe that time spent planning, tending and harvesting an edible garden sparks curiosity, starts conversations and introduces kids to new fruits and vegetables — opportunities that can empower kids and lead to real change in the choices they make at mealtime.

So, we’re excited to announce that 500 new Whole Kids Foundation 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 250,000 students by providing garden grants in 49 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, ten Canadian provinces, and one Canadian territory!

Here's the Dirt

The Garden Grant program provides grants to K-12 schools to implement an on-campus garden for the first time, or for schools with existing gardens to make meaningful transformations. We're also funding edible learning spaces in non-school environments that support children's programming such as community gardens, libraries, museums or after-school programs.

Since our Garden Grant program launched in 2011, we have awarded funding for more than 8,000 edible gardens, investing over $18.5 million and benefiting more than 5.1 million students.

Planting Seeds of Change

Why is Whole Kids Foundation so committed to school gardens? Our Interim Executive Director Chanta Williams sums it up best, “We believe in the power of gardens as learning spaces. Every garden grant creates meaningful opportunities for kids to learn more about where their food comes from, gain a deeper understanding of the connection between what we eat and how we feel, and put all of that learning into action as they make daily choices for meals and snacks.”

Research backs that up. Research shows that involvement in a garden significantly increases a student’s nutrition knowledge, as well as their willingness to try and preference for fruits and vegetables. In addition, students who participate in gardening, nutrition and cooking classes ate, on average, a half serving more vegetables per day than they did before the program.

It’s important to note that we’re not doing this alone. Whole Kids Foundation has generous support from brands that are helping us expand our reach to edible education, including contributions from our top donors: Horizon Organic, KIND Snacks, Kvarøy Arctic, LaCroix, Rainier Fruit, and Stonyfield Organic. Whole Foods Market suppliers have donated more than $1.1 million in 2023 to support many of our grant programs. We are grateful to our sponsors for sowing the seeds that help Whole Kids Foundation programs sprout up in new places, reaching thousands more kids every year. (Psst! Check out these brands that give back because we can’t do this without them.)

Interested in exploring if the Garden Grant is a match for your school or nonprofit’s goals? Get the scoop on eligibility requirements and FAQs, check out past recipients’ success stories, and discover grantees in your area by searching our Grant Recipients Database. The garden grant window opens each year in February, and grant notifications are made in August.

A Lot of Good Things Are Growing

If you’re also interested in pollinators, learn about our Bee Grants. In partnership with The Bee Cause Project, we support a Bee Grant program that allows 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. The grant application window opens on September 1, 2023.

Additionally, we offer online resources for families including activities, book recommendations, worksheets and other tools to encourage healthier food choices.

Dig in, and let’s work together to grow more opportunities for kids to learn and grow.