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Schools Awarded Grants to Grow School Garden Programs

The Ledge Light Health District has announced the recipients of the 2015 Outdoor Edible School Garden Grants. A total of nine schools in New London County will receive $500, funded through the District's USDA Farm to School and CT Dept. of Public Health Prevention grants. The grant program is designed to support schools in New London County, by offering seed money from which to launch or expand their own school garden program. The following schools have been selected:

  • Bacon Academy, Colchester
  • Great Neck Elementary, Waterford
  • Integrated Day Charter School, Norwich
  • Jennings Elementary, New London
  • Kelly Middle, Norwich
  • Mary Morrison, Groton
  • Robert Fitch High, Groton
  • Stonington High, Stonington
  • Voluntown Elementary, Voluntown

Ledge Light Health District has established the New London County School Garden Network, in cooperation with the New London County Food Policy Council, of which United Way is an active partner, and FRESH New London. The network provides opportunities for school garden coordinators to share curriculum, purchase supplies cooperatively, share best practices and lessons learned, and develop strategies for engaging students and families.

The overall goal is that all schools create a vibrant and sustainable school garden program that helps improve nutrition and connects children more closely to the foods they eat, especially children with limited nutrition-related resources.

"A school garden program offers students experiences that deeply impact their understanding of health, food, nature, and community. We have seen successful garden programs across the nation that improved test scores, reduced childhood obesity, promoted physical activity, exposed kids to healthy foods, changed eating habits, and provided positive connections to nature," said Ledge Light Health District Senior Program Coordinator Cindy Barry. "School gardens can be powerful places for learning!"

This year's mini-grants will be used by area schools for such projects as installing raised garden beds, garden materials like tools, fencing, and rain barrels, testing pilot garden learning activities that support the core curriculum, and purchasing seeds and plants.

For more information, visit www.nlcountyschoolgardennetwork.blogspot.com.