National Gardening Association's Adopt a School Garden Program & Organic Valley Reach Out to Urban Students

Rose Getch
National Gardening Association
(800) 538-7476, ext. 129

Molly Gaines
Haberman & Associates
(612) 372-6454

Amy Brown
Seed PR
(503) 341-3795

South Burlington, VT (March 21, 2007) -The National Gardening Association (NGA) is pleased to announce that NGA's Adopt a School Garden? Program and Organic Valley are partnering to cultivate school gardens in urban community schools in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City. Student gardeners will benefit from the partnership of these like-minded organizations passionate about helping young Americans get in touch with where their food comes from.

Keri Evjy, Education Associate and Adopt a School Garden (ASG) Coordinator, praised the involvement of the Organic Valley co-op. "It's only through innovative partnerships like ours with the farmers of Organic Valley that society will be able to harness the resources necessary to impact our young people's understanding of health, nutrition, ecology, and food systems," she said. "Most importantly, it gives students the chance to gain a new perspective of and respect for the farming profession."

"School gardens give kids a chance to develop a personal experience with the earth and help them get closer to their food supply. Especially for urban children, the gardens may be the only place they have to make these connections," says Sara Tedeschi, Organic Valley's community nutrition educator. "Gardening gives children the opportunity to understand that what's good for the earth is, in turn, good for them, and for their communities too."

  • In San Francisco, the Life Learning Academy garden program, called Organic Opportunities, will implement a paid internship for high school participants, increase production of produce to supplement lunches, and fortify curriculum that supports healthy eating habits.
  • In Seattle, the Orca garden at the Columbia School will focus on 4th and 5th grade nutrition by using local community groups as a teaching resource. The goals are to strengthen students' awareness of local food products and organic and local produce, and to build critical thinking skills related to the politics and environmental implications of food choices.
  • At P.S. 41, an innovative K-5 elementary school in New York City's Greenwich Village that has embraced the ingenuity of organic growing, the garden will be part of the first roof-top project funded through ASG. The NYC Department of Education hopes that this organic garden will become a model for other urban schools where space limitations make outdoor gardening virtually impossible.

Each garden program will develop a connection with a local farm to explore how food is grown and distributed. According to Tedeschi, this teams the students with farmers who dedicate their lives to growing food ecologically, and helps strengthen their understanding of where food comes from. Organic Valley will provide each school with a $2,500 seed grant as well as products produced by the 922 farmer-members of the Organic Valley cooperative.

About NGA's Adopt a School Garden Program
Adopt a School Garden (ASG) is a program developed by the National Gardening Association (NGA) to bridge the gap between schools lacking resources and people who have the ability to help. NGA connects corporate and private donors to schools that need financial support and provides professional consultation to stabilize programs and maximize their impact. NGA's experienced staff of horticultural educators provides ASG schools with a suite of services: guidance to establish local networks of support to ensure sustainability, critical educational guidance, and standards-based resources that strengthen students' academic and social skills and environmental awareness. For more information, please contact Keri Evjy at or visit

Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley Family of Farms is America's largest and oldest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents more than 922 farmers in 27 states and one Canadian province and realized a record $335 million in 2006 sales. Focused on its founding mission of keeping small and mid-sized farmers farming, the cooperative produces 200 organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce, and juice. Its sister brand, Organic Prairie, produces delicious organic pork, beef and poultry ( Look for Organic Valley and Organic Prairie in leading supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. For more information on Organic Valley, call (888) 444-MILK or visit

About the National Gardening Association
For more than 30 years, the National Gardening Association has been working to renew and sustain the essential connection between people, plants, and the environment. As a nonprofit leader in plant-based education, NGA's programs and initiatives highlight and support opportunities for learning in schools, communities, and backyards across the country. In addition, NGA focuses on four other core areas: health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development, and responsible home gardening. For more information, visit

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