Building healthier communities through gardening and nutrition education

American Heart Association

DALLAS, Jan 20, 2022 — Access to healthy foods is a major barrier to health equity, and nutrition insecurity has become even more prevalent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic[1]. To help address this gap, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, with support from CAULIPOWER, is funding 50 schools and community gardens to boost garden-based learning, enabling equitable access to healthy foods and innovating nutrition education nationwide through its Teaching Gardens Network.

The Teaching Gardens® program addresses the healthy eating challenges facing our nation’s children and families by supporting school and community gardens.

The Teaching Gardens program inspires innovation and incubates new strategies for improving access to healthy food in under-resourced communities. The grants are made possible through a $1 million, three-year commitment to the American Heart Association from CAULIPOWER.

“Year over year, American Heart Association statistics show that too many children are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, which puts them at higher risk of cardiovascular risk factors, such as childhood diabetes and high blood pressure earlier in life,” said Federico Asch, MD, FACC, FASE, volunteer medical expert for the American Heart Association. “Developing cardiovascular risk factors early in life exponentially increases a child’s risk of heart disease and stroke in adulthood. It’s critical that all kids have – regardless of where they live and their socio-economic situation- access to fresh fruits and vegetables and to proper education on healthy nutritional habits to help start their health journey early in life. This is the goal of the Teaching Gardens initiative”

Gail Becker, founder and CEO of CAULIPOWER, makers of ready-to-use plant-powered food items, added, “These gardens are real-life laboratories where kids and adults alike can learn the benefits of healthy eating while growing their own produce. School and community gardens have long provided spaces to cultivate fresh produce, learning, and a connection with the environment. During the pandemic, these urban gardens have made a difference and put fresh fruits and vegetables on the tables of families most in need.”

2021-22 grant recipients include:

Civic Engagement Garden Learning Center

Alabama

Oak Creek School

Arizona

Healthy Maryland Roadrunners

Arizona

Lincoln Elementary School

Arizona

Pediatrics Plus – Conway

Arkansas

Santiago High School

California

Santiago STEAM Magnet

California

Lynwood Elementary

California

Oakland Leaf

California

Leah’s Pantry

California

La Puente Home’s VEGI program

Colorado

Monarch Montessori of Denver Charter

Colorado

Langley Elementary School

District of Columbia

Redland Christian Academy

Florida

Richard Lewis Brown Gifted & Academically Talented Academy

Florida

Beecher Hills School

Georgia

Lewis School

Illinois

Star Farm Chicago

Illinois

Rogers Middle School

Illinois

Impact Charter School

Louisiana

Kingfield Elementary School

Maine

GRO South Hadley

Massachusetts

Detroit Waldorf School

Michigan

The Drew Horticulture Program

Michigan

Crim Fitness Foundation

Michigan

Muskegon Montessori

Michigan

Harvest Hope Farm

Minnesota

Drummond Schools Districts

Montana

Aquatic Society of Omaha INC

Nebraska

Willow Ridge Elementary School

New York

Edible Schoolyard NYC

New York

Laurens Central School

New York

Horizons at The Oakwood School

North Carolina

Love A Sea Turtle

North Carolina

Mt. Healthy City School District

Ohio

Northeast High School

Pennsylvania

Environmental Charter School

Pennsylvania

Hillview Elementary School

Pennsylvania

Hillsdale Elementary School Garden Club

Pennsylvania

The Green Heart Project

South Carolina

Florence School District #1 Briggs

South Carolina

John W. Moore Middle School

South Carolina

Lester Elementary School

South Carolina

Youth & Family Services, Inc.,

South Dakota

Phoenix Academy

Tennessee

Galveston’s Own Farmers Market

Texas

Harris County Head Start on Healthy Living

Texas

Gardopia Gardens

Texas

Downtown Greens Inc.

Virginia

Kluge Elementary School

Wisconsin

Ensuring equitable health for all has long been a guiding value of the American Heart Association. With its new 2024 impact goal, the Association recommits to advancing cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality. The American Heart Association will raise and invest more than $230 million of its own funds over the next four years to support targeted initiatives and programs, while leading additional efforts to drive systemic public health change focused on removing barriers to equitable health for everyone, everywhere.

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