IRVINE, Calif. (Jan. 16, 2012)—Funded by the California Department of Food & Agriculture, Western Growers Foundation is working with the California Department of Education to award $1,000 each to 100 preschools and child care centers across the state to create an edible garden. Western Growers Foundation—the charitable arm of Western Growers, which represents the family farmers, packers and shippers who provide almost half the fresh produce in grocery stores across America—is uniquely positioned to share with California’s youngest students real-life learning experiences such as growing their own food and healthy eating habits.

The grants will fund plants, seeds and gardening equipment. The foundation will also distribute its school gardening expert guide book, “Gardens for Learning,” to the schools and share resources from its newly revamped California School Garden Network website .

“Upon seeing corn from the stalk in the husk for the first time, one young student said, ‘Is this what I get at KFC?’ School gardens create wonderful ‘a-ha moments’ for students to truly understand where their food comes from and the work behind growing what we like to call the best medicine in the world,” says Western Growers Vice President of Marketing Paula Olson.

The edible gardens go a long way to establish healthy eating habits at a young age. That’s important because 30 percent of U.S. children are obese and half are overweight, according to the American Journal of Medicine. But as California kindergarten teacher Dianne Swanson says, “If they grow it, they’ll eat it.”

 

About Western Growers Foundation:

Western Growers Foundation’s mission is to create and sustain an edible garden in every willing California and Arizona school. The foundation, a 501(c)(3), was formed by Western Growers members—who grow almost half the produce found in groceries stores across America—to teach children where their food comes from and the importance of good nutrition.
 

About Western Growers:

Since 1926, we have represented local, regional family farmers growing traditional and organic fresh produce in Arizona and California. Our members produce half the nation’s fresh fruits and vegetables including a third of America’s fresh organic produce. For generations we have provided variety and healthy choices as the first line of defense against obesity and disease. You could say we grow the best medicine in the world.

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