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Whole Foods customers help school gardens grow

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods announced that in just six weeks, its 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 United States and Canada to support the launch or expansion of school gardens.

With the $2 million raised by shoppers and the $235,000 received from Whole Foods Market's Living Social offer, which donated 50 cents to the nonprofit per deal purchased, the Foundation will fund more than 1,000 school gardens, Whole Foods said.

"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.