Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth Pilot Program Announced

Posted on 04/07/2011 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook

Washington State University will develop and run USDA's People's Garden School Pilot Program which will serve an estimated 2,800 students attending 70 elementary schools in Washington, New York, Iowa and Arkansas. The Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth pilot is an innovative strategy to help our nation win the future through improved K-12 education. It explores the impact of school gardens on learning and on changing student consumption patterns so they make healthier food choices.

The $1 million pilot program is authorized under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. The schools selected to participate in this pilot come from urban, suburban, and rural communities and have at least 50 percent of their students qualified to receive free or reduced-price school meals The initiative is part of a the USDA People's Garden Initiative which establishes community and school gardens across the nation to help unite neighborhoods in a common effort and inspire simple solutions to challenges facing our country – from hunger to the environment. The announcement comes as First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative celebrates National Gardening Month (April).

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) oversees the administration of 15 nutrition assistance programs that touch the lives of one in four Americans over the course of a year. Visit www.fns.usda.gov for information about FNS and nutrition assistance programs.