Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation is sponsoring the inaugural Growing School Garden Summit, April 22 through 25 in Denver, Colorado. The summit is set to be the first gathering entirely dedicated to school gardening on a national level.
The meeting will be attended by more than 400 educators, representing organizations that work on the campuses of more than 6,000 schools and educate an estimated 2.5 million students annually. Beyond learning more about nutrition and science, the children are connected viscerally to the earth by getting their hands dirty gardening.
“Sprouts is committed to improving children’s nutrition education, and we believe our investment in school garden education is one of the best tools available to advance this mission,” said Lyndsey Waugh, Executive Director of the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. “Hosting the Growing School Gardens Summit is an opportunity to level-up our impact by focusing on how we can empower school garden educators, understanding that through this support we will have an even greater and lasting impact on students.”
Evidence shows that school gardening programs engage kids in interesting, hands-on learning, making them better students and feeding them healthier foods. This means that the popularity of school gardening programs is only expanding.
“The number of organizations using gardens as learning spaces continues to grow each year and, with this, comes a greater demand for teacher training and peer-to-peer learning,” said Life Lab Program and Partnerships Director John Fisher, a co-founder of the School Garden Support Organization Network, a professional learning community of more than 4,500 educators.
“The Summit provides this space and also raises awareness for the effectiveness of school gardens in teaching children that establishing healthy eating habits early in life will lead to better health outcomes as they become adults.”
As part of a commitment to equitability, the foundation along with other partners are offering scholarships to 25 percent of attendees, meaning that this type of instruction can hopefully reach underprivileged communities as well.