AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 24, 2011) — In just six weeks, Whole Foods Market shoppers donated more than $2 million in stores and online to support the School Garden Grant Program, the first major initiative of the Whole Kids Foundation. In partnership with FoodCorps, the Foundation will fund $2,000 grants for schools in the U.S. and Canada to support the launch or expansion of school gardens.

 Created to help schools grow students’ relationships with food through gardening, the School Garden Grant Program stems from the Foundation’s mission to support nutrition education in schools. With the $2 million raised by shoppers and the $235,000 received from Whole Foods Market’s Living Social offer, which donated $.50 to the nonprofit per deal purchased, the Foundation will fund more than 1,000 school gardens.

 “The support we have received from over a million shoppers is humbling and deeply appreciated. We’ve already received 300 applications from schools and garden-related nonprofits who are interested in implementing or expanding school gardens,” said Nona Evans, executive director of the Whole Kids Foundation. “Gardens are such a powerful and effective tool for kids to engage in a variety of conversations about food. We encourage parents and teachers to consider the many lessons that can be taught by gardening with their children.”

In addition to a $2,000 grant, each grant recipient will receive a copy of “How to Grow a School Garden” by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Pringle, a digital garden kit, discounts for gardening supplies and ongoing opportunities for mentoring and support from FoodCorps, which will help schools build and sustain their gardens to ensure long-term success.

“FoodCorps is thrilled to partner with Whole Kids Foundation to provide more children with an opportunity to discover the joys of growing food, and in-turn establish lifelong healthy eating habits,” said Debra Eschmeyer, FoodCorps Co-Founder and Program Director. “Now we need schools and nonprofits to apply and take advantage of this great opportunity.”

 All schools, districts and garden-related nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply through the online grant process, which is being administered by the Whole Kids Foundation and FoodCorps. Grant applications will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2011, and recipients will be notified in February 2012.  To apply, or to review the full grant criteria, visit http://www.wholekidsfoundation.org/gardengrants.php.