LOS ANGELES (Dec. 10, 2012) – Whole Kids Foundation is sowing a new crop of garden grants this year, with today’s announcement of five new garden grants awarded to public schools in the Los Angeles unified school district. The foundation will also be growing its Teacher Wellness Program to include Los Angeles, which was named the first of six cities to integrate this program’s unique approach to nutrition education.

The five Los Angeles unified schools which were awarded grants through ENRICHLA, a partner nonprofit focused on increasing edible gardens in public schools, include:
• Alta Loma Elementary
• Luther Burbank Middle School
• Markham Middle School
• San Pedro Elementary
• West Vernon Elementary

“Since Whole Kids Foundation was established in June 2011, it has been exciting to see how the generosity of our shoppers has helped our program blossom. With these five new garden grants, the Foundation has helped bring 19 gardens and nine salad bars to Los Angeles unified school district schools,” said Nona Evans, Whole Kids Foundation executive director.

The new garden grants were celebrated during a garden dedication event today at Alta Loma Elementary School. In addition to the garden grants awarded in Los Angeles, the Whole Kids Foundation announced plans to provide grants for 500 new gardens and 400 new salad bars to schools across the U.S. and Canada. The new garden grants and salad bars were made possible by Whole Foods Market shoppers company-wide who raised a healthy $2.27 million during the foundation’s annual fundraiser in September. 

At today’s event, Whole Kids Foundation also announced a new partnership with Leonard Green & Partners which recently made a donation of $500,000 to the foundation. The generous donation from the local private equity firm will help fund the newly awarded garden grants as well as support the foundation in its ongoing efforts to improve children’s nutrition.

Los Angeles teachers will also be sown into the mix with the launch of the Teacher Wellness Program next year. The program stems from a partnership between Whole Kids Foundation and the nonprofit organization, FoodFight, with the objective of empowering teachers and students to make healthier choices as consumers. Through an intensive hands-on workshop, the Teacher Wellness Program explores topics like food politics, media literacy and healthy cooking techniques. Established in New York earlier this year, the program will remain in its pilot stages through 2013.

“What is truly exciting about today’s announcement is that Whole Kids Foundation is not just providing healthy options for our students with gardens, but the fact that they are providing their educators with support through the Teacher Wellness Program to help them guide our children towards a more healthy lifestyle both in and out of the classroom,” said Ellen DeLeston, principal at Alta Loma Elementary. “Many of our students would not otherwise have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and by continuing to introduce them to these nutritious foods will help frame their eating habits for years to come.”
Whole Kids Foundation plants and grows its mission to improve children’s nutrition and wellness by focusing its efforts in the areas of school garden grants, salad bars in schools, and nutrition education and inspiration for teachers. Through partnerships with innovative organizations, the Foundation can provide children access to healthier choices in order to reach their full potential.

ENRICHLA is an environmental non-profit focused on adding edible school gardens to public schools. The rapidly growing operation began operations in April 2011 and has completed 35 school gardens, four of them over an acre in size and 13 of them requiring asphalt removal.

For more information about Whole Kids Foundation, please visit www.wholekidsfoundation.org or email whole.kids@wholefoods.com. To keep up on the latest news and events, follow Whole Kids Foundation on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/wholekidsfoundation and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WholeKidsFnd.