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School garden funding available

Arkansas schools that are interested in building vegetable gardens and starting garden-based education programming for students can apply for funds from the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) Delta Garden Study.

The state’s largest garden-based childhood obesity prevention research study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and in collaboration with Bank of America, is accepting competing applications between now and April 1 for two $7,000 awards. Qualifying schools will receive $7,000 in cash to build and maintain an on-campus vegetable garden, as well as training for teachers and garden participants on how to integrate the garden into science and other curriculum.

The Delta Garden Study and ACHRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program teams will also make site visits to assist with the garden’s design and build out, provide technical support and offer materials ranging from garden recipe books to study guides.

Schools must meet the following guidelines to qualify for the $7,000 awards:

· Must be a public or private Arkansas school serving grades K-12

· Must not currently offer a vegetable garden on campus

· Must have at least one key staff member designated as the primary coordinator of the potential garden program

· Must be willing for primary coordinator to participate in technical training in Little Rock this spring

· Must be willing to participate in school garden evaluation by the Delta Garden Study and Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program.

The Delta Garden Study measures the impact of school gardens on youth fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, academic achievement and school bonding. Since 2010, the Delta Garden Study has built and maintained seven school garden programs in Arkansas.

Schools interested in applying can find more information and an application template at arteengarden.com. For questions regarding the awards, review procedures and more, contact Program Administrator Emily English at (501) 364-3360 or esenglish@uams.edu.

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