Grants will expand their Grow Education program’s existing footprint in third grade classrooms with school gardens and local food initiatives.
On Friday, October 8th, The Marion Institute in partnership with Representative Paul Schmid, were joined by New Bedford City Councilor Brad Markey, Jacob Miller from Senator Montigny’s office, and NBPS representatives, community partners, and donors to join in the inaugural planting at Pulaski elementary school’s newly constructed garden beds located in New Bedford’s north end. Pulaski’s principals, 3rd grade students, and teachers were the guests of honor at this kick-off ceremony.
Adam Davenport, program manager for Marion Institute’s Grow Education program, led the demonstration and the educational component for the kids. Students were given a chance to plant seeds and learn that they will be cultivating the vegetable plants that they will then harvest and eat.
Representative Schmid addressed the crowd and the collective accomplishments that have been made by this Farm to School partnership among non-profit organizations, the City of New Bedford, the NBPS Administration, and public. It’s a huge win for the New Bedford Public School system to be awarded over $100K from the USDA under their Farm to School program. In USDA’s vision, child nutrition programs can champion U.S. agriculture and proudly promote locally sourced foods. The New Bedford Community Preservation Act, another great source of funding support will ensure the construction of school gardens at all 19 elementary schools in New Bedford by spring 2022.
These grants are designed to increase the availability of local and fresh foods in schools and motivate students to eat them, supporting the Marion Institute’s mission to build resilient communities. The USDA funds will support a wide range of activities, including teacher training, planning and creating new menu items to serve local foods, establishing local supply chains, hosting taste-tests, planting school gardens, and organizing field trips to agricultural operations. Overall, these grants are helping teach kids about nutrition within classroom instruction and through on-site gardening programs to break down barriers to eating healthy foods.
Adam getting the kids pumped up for learning about growing veggies and the opportunity to enjoy being outside on a beautiful day! The Marion Institute photo.
Rep Schmid and Adam address the kids and attendees. The Marion Institute photo.
Rep Schmid and Adam Davenport, Grow Education’s program leader, together with Shay assist the kids with planting.The Marion Institute photo.