Rose Getch, Communications Director
National Gardening Association
(800) 538-7476, ext. 129
Haberman & Associates
South Burlington, VT (April 24, 2008) - The National Gardening Association (NGA) is pleased to announce that NGA's Adopt a School Garden? Program and Organic Valley are partnering for the third year in a row to cultivate gardens at urban community schools in San Francisco, Seattle, and New York City. Student gardeners will benefit from the partnership of these like-minded organizations that are passionate about helping young Americans get in touch with where their food comes from. Each school receives $2,000 in cash and $1,000 in product from NGA's Gardening with Kids catalog.
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."
This is the third year of Organic Valley's commitment to support urban schools through NGA's Adopt a School Garden program. Thus far, Organic Valley has helped four schools through the ASG program. For 2008-2009, they continue their support of PS 41 in Greenwich Village, New York, and Life Learning Academy in San Francisco, California. Maple Elementary School in Seattle, Washington, is newly adopted.
The Maple Elementary School garden is a dynamic space for learning. The goal during the first year of adoption is to use ASG assistance to strengthen community connections and partnerships; help more teachers become comfortable using the garden as a learning tool; and to lay the foundation for sustainability, from designing a mission statement to exploring funding options.
The Life Learning Academy's Organic Opportunities garden program continues to offer students opportunities to grow their own organic food, strengthen a local food system that encourages greater community access, and increase local partnerships. The students will take field trips to conventional and organic farms (including an Organic Valley dairy farm) to deepen their educational exploration of health and sustainability, food systems, and food security.
P.S. 41, an innovative K-5 school, has embraced the ingenuity of organic growing and is integrating the garden into studies through curriculum enhancements and community connections. "PS41 is thrilled and honored to be re-adopted by Organic Valley for our school garden program," says Vicki Sando, parent coordinator and PTA co-president. "With the financial and educational support from Organic Valley, we can teach the importance of farm-to-table gardening to all of our students. This would not have been possible without our participation in the NGA Adopt a School Garden program - thank you!"
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: direction 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the ASG Web site.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents more than 1,200 farmers in 34 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $432.5 million in 2007 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.com and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop.
About the National Gardening Association
For more than 30 years, the National Gardening Association (NGA) 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, we focus on four other core areas: health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development, and responsible home gardening. For more information, visit www.garden.org or www.kidsgardening.org.