Grants grow gardens

By Observer editorial February 04, 2013 09:30 am

In this day when only one in five American children consumes the recommended five or more fruits and veggies per day, when the percent of overweight children has doubled since the 1960s, when we have fallen in love with our fast-food culture and its mountains of Cheez-Its and Cheez Whiz, it’s encouraging that the Joseph and North Powder School districts got a boost for their gardens.

Both districts received grants from the Oregon Department of Education. Joseph School received $2,334 to improve its garden and supply local grass-fed beef for lunches. North Powder received $2,764 to maintain its garden, host guest chefs and take field trips to raise students’ awareness of the importance of real food and farming.

The grant program is the product of House Bill 2800—the Farm to School & School Garden Bill — passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2011.

Of the funds, 87.5 percent will go to purchasing
Oregon food products and 12.5 percent will go to food, agriculture and garden-based education. 

The grants can help both kids learn how to eat better and farmers with their bottom line. Sure, we’re not going to turn all the kids into lovers of broccoli and brussels sprouts. But we can teach them the lifelong importance of good nutrition to an improved quality of life.