It’s a fact: gardens make everything more beautiful. Whether they’re dotted with perennials or brimming with towering tomato plants, there’s something about a garden that awakens the soul and the imagination. That’s why it makes perfect sense that the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, spearheaded by the popular natural-foods grocery store company, has started a program that brings gardens to schools across the country.
Founded in 2015, the foundation focuses on introducing gardening, and the fruits and veggies that come with it, to children, something that may result in a lifelong love of healthy eating and spending time outdoors. Working with nonprofit partners in 23 states, Sprouts covers all the operational expenses, which means an astounding 650,000 elementary school children have enjoyed getting their hands dirty in their school gardens while taking part in hands-on learning. Additionally, 800,000 K-12 students have participated in impactful nutrition education programs.
Keeping the good vibes going, the program is also responsible for providing over 10 million pounds of fresh produce to 300,000 food insecure families.
In April, these efforts culminated in an impressive 45-minute virtual event broadcast live to more than 1,200 elementary schools. Called the “Coast-to-Coast Virtual School Gardens Tour,” it was the first virtual garden-based learning event, featuring lessons from students at school garden sites.
If you’d like to support bringing school gardens and all that healthy eating to your community, follow the #growingschoolgardens hashtag on Instagram and Twitter and see what other schools are doing. Encourage local nonprofit organizations that provide children with healthy food access or nutrition education to apply for a grant, or support a nonprofit partner that’s already working with the Sprouts Foundation either monetarily or by volunteering—they list several partners on their website.
And don’t forget to stop and smell the roses (or the fruits, vegetables and herbs). It just might further inspire you to introduce all that garden goodness to the next generation.