Given the right opportunities, kids will get excited about fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other wholesome foods. Yes, really.
Only 2% of children eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, and the typical elementary student receives just 3.4 hours of nutrition education each year — something needs to change! Our mission at Whole Kids Foundation is to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. It can seem like an overwhelming goal at times, but we’ve found successful ways to make swift changes on the school and community level.
We fund three grant programs — Garden Grants, Salad Bars to Schools and Bee Grants — that give schoolchildren ways to personally connect with the roots of their food, expand their nutrition awareness and encourage healthier food choices.
These grant programs are effective and easily implemented ways to make an immediate and direct impact on kids, schools and communities. So, for us, positive change can look like fresh fruits and vegetables in school cafeterias or vibrant gardens and educational honey bee hives that been integrated in classroom curriculum.
We believe the most powerful thing these gardens, salad bars and honey bee hives do is to activate kids’ curiosity. Each of our grants gives students a tangible opportunity to follow their natural curiosity and learn about where food comes from, the connection between what they eat and how they feel, and how to make good food choices for life. It’s the power of curiosity that gets kids excited and willing to try new things. Ultimately, it creates adventurous eaters.
Through our grants, we’ve connected more than 7 million schoolchildren across the U.S., Canada and the U.K. to nature and food with real and measurable benefits. Here’s how:
We know that kids who grow veggies, eat veggies, so school gardens can make a big impact. Through our Garden Grant program, schools and non-profit organizations turn outdoor spaces into powerful hands-on, nature-based learning environments that connect kids with food. These gardens not only promote a basic understanding of how to grow food healthily but also how to make healthy food choices.
A salad bar at school means kids have the choice of fresh vegetables and fruit for lunch 175 days each year. In fact, the CDC reports that kids with access to a salad bar eat 33% more fruits and vegetables! So, through key partnerships, we developed the Salad Bars to Schools grant program with the mission of donating salad bars to U.S. schools.
Educational Bee Hives:
One of the best ways we can teach kids about bees is by giving them an up-close look into the world of pollination. The Honey Bee Grant program provides support for educational honey bee hives, so students can observe bees and learn about the vital role these pollinators play in our food system.
Through these grants, we’ve seen firsthand how successful hands-on opportunities are at building a direct connection between kids and the roots of their food. One garden, salad bar or honey bee hive can help a child learn to love fresh, nutritious, whole foods. Now just imagine what thousands of these edible educations can do.