Learn and Grow
Natural grocery chain seeks nominations to sprout 24 school gardens in 24 hours
Sprouts Farmers Market, an Arizona-based grocery chain with 52 locations in Texas, is growing its influence in more ways than one. The chain is taking on a self-imposed challenge to build 24 school gardens — one each in 24 cities — within 24 hours. And community members will help choose the schools.
The mission is to celebrate Earth Month and to get kids involved in healthy food from the earliest stages to the last touches, growing vegetables at school and then learning how to prepare them in cooking classes.
It all comes down to the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, which has been pursuing this goal at schools and via community grants since 2015, awarding $15 million to more than 300 nonprofit partners. The resulting programs have taught more than 1.5 million kids about gardening, and 900,000 in schools about nutrition.
Community members can nominate neighborhood schools in the 23 states with Sprouts stores to be considered for their own new “learning garden.” The application is available to parents, teachers, faculty, and any other adult with a personal connection to their nominee, whether that’s a personal relationship or just status as a neighbor.
It will help to be familiar with the school’s current practices. The application also considers “merit” (including both achievements and barriers), the school’s existing commitment to outdoor learning, and who plans to oversee and maintain the garden.
The very outdoorsy city of Austin sees its fair share of community garden initiatives, from local brands' goodwill projects to semi-annual volunteer opportunities. Even if a child's school does not have a garden, they may participate in programs at the YMCA, or help a family member in a city-run community garden.
Nominations are open from now until April 26 at sprouts.com.