Teaching Gardens program opens new round of grants to grow access to healthy foods

American Heart Association

Nutrition insecurity has become even more of an issue since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in children. Children are eating less than 1.5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day[1]. To try and address this gap the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, launched its nationwide grant application to support the Association’s Teaching Gardens Network.

This is the second year these grants have been made possible by a $1M commitment from CAULIPOWER, makers of gluten-free, ready-to-use cauliflower-based food items. The Teaching Gardens Network aims to inspire innovation and incubate new strategies for improving access to healthy food in under-resourced communities nationwide.

Schools and community organizations are invited to apply for a grant to start a new garden or enhance an existing garden to meet the evolving needs of families and communities. The grant application period is now open online. and closes on Friday, October 29th, 2021.

Healthy eating habits are created during childhood; that’s why the American Heart Association and CAULIPOWER support a joint mission of promoting healthy eating among children in underserved communities. The Teaching Garden program inspires kids to adopt healthy behaviors early in life. Schools and community gardens pair an active experience with an interactive nutrition curriculum to help kids make healthy food choices. Teaching Gardens are real-life laboratories for students to learn what it means to be healthy and how fruits and vegetables contribute to a balanced diet, while providing nutritious options for families in underserved communities.

“CAULIPOWER’s mission is to make healthier food more accessible to all,” said long-time American Heart Association volunteer, CAULIPOWER Founder and Chief Executive Officer Gail Becker, . “We are proud to be providing these grants for the second year as we know the need is greater than ever as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We want to give kids the knowledge and tools to create healthier lives for themselves and their families through nutrition.”

The majority of cardiovascular diseases are preventable, and a person’s overall health is determined by many factors other than access and quality of clinical care; access to healthy foods is one such factor that affects a person’s health outcomes. According to the American Heart Association’s 2021 Statistical Update, most children don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, consuming less than one serving of each per day. This has been a trend over many years and the Teaching Gardens program was developed to try and address this. In 2010, the American Heart Association teamed up with noted child-nutrition activist and philanthropist, Kelly Meyer, to create the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens® program at elementary schools across the country with the goal of helping students learn what it means to be healthy.

The newest Teaching Gardens grant recipients will be announced in January 2022.

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