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Delta Health Alliance receives Whole Kids Foundation grant to purchase garden tools, seeds for Leland and Hollandale school gardens

Posted on: April 29, 2019

Delta Health Alliance announced today that it has been awarded a $4,000 grant from Whole Kids Foundation to expand its Delta EATS (Edible Agriculture Teaching Students) education garden program for two schools – Leland Elementary garden in Leland, MS and Sanders Elementary in Hollandale, MS. Whole Kids Foundation’s Garden Grant program helps schools and organizations in the US, Canada and the UK connect students to real food through edible learning gardens aimed at improving children’s nutrition and wellness.

Delta EATS will use the Whole Kids Foundation grant funding to purchase garden tools, seed starting/planting materials, and items needed for its nutrition lessons at both locations, allowing more opportunities for students to gain the knowledge to make healthy food choices for themselves and their communities.

Ryan Betz, Delta EATS Program Manager, states, “Delta EATS is excited for the opportunity to be awarded Whole Kids Foundation funds to continue to support our gardening program for students. We will use the grant funds to invest in garden and cooking program materials, and beautification efforts, that will help sustain our gardens for years to come.  This will also support our effort to bring parents and the community into the school gardens as well.”

Delta EATS connects 5thgrade students and curriculum with a school garden and provides hands-on learning incorporating rigorous academic standards for English and Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Students.  The Delta EATS team partners with AmeriCorps FoodCorps and school administrators, food service and cafeteria staff to conduct weekly garden and nutrition lessons.  Delta EATS uses best practices from model school garden programs from across the country in the areas of garden design, classroom procedures and management, garden rituals, and growing methods.

“We believe in the power of a garden as a learning space,” said Nona Evans, president and executive director of Whole Kids Foundation. “Every garden grant creates an opportunity 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.”

Gardens are becoming an increasingly common educational tool and for good reason: school gardens are shown to improve children’s behavior and performance at school and improve their attitudes about and appreciation for the environment. Additionally, only two percent of children eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, but children who have a hand in growing food are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and to be more knowledgeable about nutrition.

Whole Kids Foundation has awarded funding for over 5,400 edible education gardens, investing more than $10.8 million in Garden Grants, and benefiting 7.5 million students across all Whole Kids Foundation programs since 2011.

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For more information on WholeKids Foundation Garden Grants and how to apply, visit wholekidsfoundation.org. Additionally, those interested can also sign up for the Whole Kids Foundation newsletter to get up-to-date information on all of the foundation’s initiatives.

About Whole Kids Foundation®

Whole Kids Foundation supports schools and inspires families to improve children’s nutrition and wellness. Founded by Whole Foods Market in 2011, the independent, nonprofit organization is based in Austin, Texas and serves schools and organizations in the US, Canada and the UK. For more information on the Foundation’s school programs including school gardens, salad bars, bee hives and nutrition education for teachers, visit wholekidsfoundation.org.

About Delta Health Alliance

Delta Health Alliance is a non-profit, tax exempt organization that is changing health care and education in the Mississippi Delta by improving access to health services, promoting healthier lifestyles, and expanding educational opportunities. The mission of the Delta Health Alliance is to improve the health and education of the men, women, and children who make the Mississippi Delta their home. For more information about Delta Health Alliance’s Delta EATS program, go to www.deltahealthalliance.organd follow Delta EATS on social media.