New York, NY—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and cooking show star Rachael Ray introduced a series of programs to promote healthy eating among the city’s youth. Sponsored by Ray’s Yum-o! organization, the new programs will connect city students to community gardens or help them build gardens of their own. The program will also supplement cafeteria food with fresh, healthy, locally grown produce and encourage kids to learn about their food’s origins and nutrition.
To address barriers to garden creation and survival such as limited funding, equipment and materials, and few resources to care for gardens over the summer, the mayor announced new efforts that will help address these obstacles including:
• Launching a new mini-grant program (grants of $500–1,000) this fall for schools in need of funds to start a garden.
• Creating a Web site for schools to be launched by this fall with resources including information on how to locate and connect to local community gardens and information for teachers on how to incorporate garden instruction into existing curricula to maximize their academic impact.
• Starting a teen intern program to take care of school gardens during the summer months.
On her Web site, Ray stated, “This is such a beautiful, simple thing: for a kid to be able to make that connection where food really comes from. To be able to cook something and share it with your family or friends is just such a strong and powerful way to build a child’s self esteem.”
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, August 2010 (epub July 21, 2010)