Austin, TX—The nonprofit Whole Kids Foundation announced that they will be investing $1.2M for 602 garden grants that will be awarded to schools and school-garden organizations in an effort to support edible educational gardens, according to a press release.

The release states that the $2,000 grants will be given out in 48 U.S. States and 9 Canadian provinces. They will serve 457,021 students by providing them with experimental learning that is hands-on and ties into common core subjects.

Tristana Pirkl, Whole Kids Foundation’s outdoor education leader stated, “Through our Garden Grant program, schools and nonprofit organizations transform outdoor spaces into vibrant hands-on outdoor classrooms that connect kids with food, spark their curiosity, and inspire them to make healthier choices for meals and snacks. We truly believe in gardens as powerful learning spaces for nutrition, wellness and for all subjects!”

According to the release, school gardens and the experiential learning they provide has become a common educational tool shown to improve academic performance, behavior, and appreciation for the environment. It also says that only 2% of children eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. However, it adds that children who are involved in growing their food are more likely to become more knowledgeable about nutrition and eat more fruits and vegetables.

The Whole Kids Foundation is a nonprofit organization that focuses on children’s wellness and nutrition. According to the release, they provide grants to K-12 schools to support edible gardens on school property. They also fund gardens for nonprofit recipients such as community gardens, libraries, and museums. Over the past eight years, the release says, the foundation has funded more than 5,400 gardens and invested $10.8M to benefit 3.4 million students.