Burpee Supports Youth Gardening

Burpee Home Gardens just announced its 2011 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award winners. Selected from more than 220 applications from community and urban school gardens across the United States, this year’s winners are:
• City of Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation Department in Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
• Kid Power, Inc., in Washington, D.C.
• Robles Elementary School in Tampa, Fla.
• Waterford School District in Waterford, Mich.
• West End IB World School in Nashville, Tenn.

“We received an overwhelming number of quality applications for the second annual ’I Can Grow‘ program, and it was difficult to select just five deserving winners,” said George Ball, chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee & Co. “The growing popularity of the program demonstrates the increasing value and interest in vegetable gardening among younger and novice gardeners.”

Winners will receive up to 500 vegetable and herb plants, $2,500 toward garden supplies, 5 gallons of Daniels organic-based plant food, one hose-end sprayer, on-site layout and installation assistance from Burpee Home Gardens experts, and a Flip camera to document the garden’s success.

The 2011 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award assists school and community gardens demonstrating well-developed and staffed plans for youth-centered educational programs that emphasize nutrition and food production, environmental awareness, social responsibility and scholastic integration. Garden installations for the following winners will be completed in spring 2011.

City of Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation Department

The Salem Hills Community Garden Plots, managed by the Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Parks and Recreation Department and Salem Elementary School, provide 140 community youth with a service learning opportunity to engage in gardening and the environment. Established in May 2010, several plots are designated multigenerational gardens where grandparents, parents and grandchildren garden together, sharing the tradition of gardening. Youth gardeners are taught by Dakota County master gardeners and donate 20 percent of harvested food to local food banks.

Kid Power, Inc.

Washington D.C.’s Kid Power is expanding its VeggieTime program with the addition of eight vegetable garden beds at Amidon Elementary School to better support its 275 students in underserved communities. This well-developed environmental science and nutrition program allows youth to participate in the local farmers markets, service learning projects, cooking classes, field trips and guest lectures.

Robles Elementary School

For many students at Robles Elementary School, discovering food growing on a plant is a new experience. To help students at this urban, high-poverty school learn about new foods and understand the value of healthy eating, this school located near Tampa, Fla., participates in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program to provide 630 students with an assortment of fresh produce weekly. In partnership with Southwest Florida Water Management, Robles Elementary School will use its new garden as a tool for teaching science and conservation.

Waterford School District

Impacted by the economic downturn due to the automotive industry reorganization, Detroit-area Waterford School District has experienced a growing need for food assistance. This start-up garden will be located at the Waterford Alternative High School Crary Campus, and will benefit 219 students. Working side by side with school and administrative staff, along with members of the Waterford Senior Center, students will maintain and harvest the garden, providing vegetables to the Open Door Outreach Center and Forgotten Harvest food banks for families in need.

West End IB World School

Students at West End IB World School in Nashville, Tenn., started down the garden path in 2008 with the introduction of a rain garden. Benefitting 431 students through integrated lessons across the curriculum, the garden grew in 2010 to include native plants. The addition of a vegetable garden in 2011 will allow West End IB World School to complete its outdoor classroom, serve freshly harvested vegetables in the school cafeteria and donate the surplus to local food banks.

To see how these school and community gardens are flourishing throughout the year, visit the Burpee Home Gardens blog at www.burpeehomegardens.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BurpeeHomeGardens. For advice, tips and ideas about how to get your own school or community garden started, check out the “I Can Grow” portion of the Burpee Home Gardens website.

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