Syngenta selected three recipients from more than 200 entries for the inaugural year of its Syngenta Grow More Vegetables seed grant program. The program assists recipients in establishing gardens and promoting benefits of vegetable production and consumption to local communities.
The three applicants received garden grant packages that help create opportunities to educate local communities on the benefits of fresh vegetable production and consumption.
The recipients are:
- Elementary and Middle School Category – Centreville Elementary (Centreville, Va.)
- High School and FFA Chapter Category – Colby Middle/High School (Colby, Wis.)
- Community Garden Category – Garfield Community Action Team (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Centreville Elementary School (CES) is highly diverse, with 5 percent of its student population described as possessing learning challenges, 15 percent non-English speaking and 10 percent identified as economically disadvantaged.
“The CES Outdoor Learning Program provides an innovative and unique framework where students use hands-on, critical-thinking strategies rather than traditional learning to engage in agriculture first-hand,” says Nadine Kaiser, the school’s grant reporter.
Melissa Ploeckelman, FFA advisor at Colby Middle/High School, says she believes the grant will allow much of the produce grown by students through their garden program to serve as fresh, healthy options in the school cafeteria. Additionally, the grant will expose more than 75 percent of Colby students and community members to agricultural education initiatives that they would not receive otherwise.
The Garfield Community Action Team (GCAT) hosts educational programs for neighborhood families about gardening and the importance of producing and consuming fresh, healthy food. The garden was a community response to a particularly tragic three months involving fatal gun-related incidents within the two-block radius of the garden. “It has been the catalyst for change — bringing people out of their homes to forge new connections and strengthening community bonds,” says Minette Vaccarello, GCAT lead organizer.
Mary Streett DeMers, Syngenta Vegetables’ communications lead, and Jeannine Bogard, Syngenta Garden vegetables’ product business manager, have high hopes for each of the recipients and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor as the season progresses.
“We are ecstatic to assist our three recipients in the establishment or advancement of their garden programs,” DeMers says. “Our goal with the Syngenta Grow More Vegetables seed grant program is to help increase hands-on educational opportunities and enhance healthy eating programs driven by our new partners, which will serve as a catalyst for positive change in communities across America.”
To apply or learn more about the Syngenta Grow More Vegetables Seed Grant Program and its recipients, visit Vegetables.Syngenta-US.com. Applications will be accepted online through September 15.