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Schoolyard Gardens program will expand to more schools

Kansas City Community Gardens (KCCG) was recently awarded a grant of $147,830 from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) to help expand the agency’s Schoolyard Gardens Program.

One of 22 Healthy Lifestyles grants awarded by the Foundation, this grant will be used to continue providing technical assistance and garden supplies to schools on both sides of the state line in the metropolitan area and to serve more schools. Program staff members work with schools to help with garden planning and construction, and support teachers as they integrate gardening into classroom activities.

In partnership with KC Healthy Kids, KCCG will also use grant funds to facilitate a community-led process in which participating schools and other supporters can create and implement a city-wide vision for school gardening to include research, advocacy, and efforts to influence related policy.

The expected health outcomes of the Schoolyard Gardens program are improved nutrition and knowledge about healthy eating, increased activity, and reduced obesity for participating children in the Kansas City metropolitan area through garden-based education. Grant funds will be used in support of program staffing, garden supplies and construction, program-related transportation and equipment, workshops for teachers, and web design for online school curriculum and other resources for educators. This grant will continue the Foundation’s support of the program, which began in 2008, with the new grant period beginning in January 2013 and lasting through January 2015.

“Kansas City Community Gardens and HCF share a common goal to improve nutrition, prevent obesity, and encourage healthy lifestyles for Kansas City’s kids,” says KCCG Executive Director Ben Sharda. “This grant will allow KCCG to increase community and family involvement in garden projects in area schools, while supporting more schools in their efforts to teach students of all ages about gardening, nutrition and overall healthy lifestyles.”

Gardening is being recognized regionally and nationally as an important means of improving nutrition and health in our schools. The Schoolyard Gardens program is open to all interested schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area. For more information, visit kccg.org.

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