Contact: Rose Getch
National Gardening Association
(800) 538-7476, ext. 129
Gardener's Supply Company
South Burlington, Vermont (February 26, 2008) - The National Gardening Association (NGA) announces the 8th annual Healthy Sprouts Awards, sponsored by Gardener's Supply Company. The award program was formed to support youth gardens that focus on nutrition education and on creating awareness about hunger in local communities. NGA will choose 20 programs to receive gift cards to Gardener's Supply Company along with garden curriculum packages.
Statistics show that in many U.S. neighborhoods you'll find children who are overweight and others wondering where their next meal will come from; many are not getting the right balance of nutrients in their diets or enough exercise. Research conducted at Texas A&M University supports the connection between kids' food gardens and improved nutrition, showing that gardens can play a major role in solving the diet- and exercise-related challenges children face.
Nicole Beaudoin, Garden Coordinator at Cottonwood Valley Charter School, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, says her students are living proof of these claims. "As our cold frame gardens flourished, students learned a new way to produce and experience food. Many had only eaten wilted iceberg lettuce on burgers, and they devoured their garden-grown greens with gusto! Students would stop by the garden for a handful of arugula, beet greens, or Swiss chard, and rave about how good it was!"
NGA president Mike Metallo points out that the response of Nicole's students is not unique. "There are many published studies indicating that gardens are a boon to children's overall health and wellness. Kids who participate in gardening programs connect to the environment and to their communities; develop social skills such as cooperation and leadership; achieve higher test scores; and have improved attention, focus, and self-esteem. Plus, they like to eat the nutritious vegetables and fruits they grow!"
To be eligible for the Healthy Sprouts Awards, a school or organization must plan to garden in 2009 with at least 15 children between the ages of 3 and 18. To be selected, applicants must demonstrate how their garden program will enhance participants' nutrition knowledge and attitudes and their awareness of hunger issues in the United States. Applications are available on the Kidsgardening.org Web site.
About the Sponsors
Gardener's Supply Company was founded in 1983 by a handful of enthusiastic Vermont gardeners. Today, they serve millions of gardeners nationwide, offering products from seed-starting supplies to garden furniture. To learn more about how Gardener's Supply Company is improving the world through gardening, visit www.gardeners.com.
Founded in 1973, the National Gardening Association is a national nonprofit leader in plant-based education, respected for its award-winning Web sites and newsletters, grants and curricula for youth gardens, and research for the lawn and garden industry. NGA's mission is to advance the personal, community, and educational benefits of gardening by supporting gardeners and teachers with information and resources. To learn more about gardening with children and youth, please visit www.kidsgardening.org.