The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation will host its inaugural Growing School Gardens Summit April 22-25 in Denver, Colorado.
As the first national gathering focused entirely on school gardens, the summit will unite more than 400 educators and leaders from across the country working to sustain school garden programs at the school, regional and national level. These educators – and the nonprofit organizations they represent – operate learning gardens at more than 6,000 school campuses, providing hands-on nutrition, science and academic instruction to 2.5 million students each year.
“Sprouts is committed to improving children’s nutrition education, and we believe our investment in school garden education is one of the best tools available to advance this mission,” said Lyndsey Waugh, executive director of the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. “Hosting the Growing School Gardens Summit is an opportunity to level-up our impact by focusing on how we can empower school garden educators, understanding that through this support we will have an even greater and lasting impact on students.”
The company has gathered evidence backing the benefits of student participation in school garden programming, leading more schools to invest in the creation of these outdoor learning spaces than ever before.
“The number of organizations using gardens as learning spaces continues to grow each year and, with this, comes a greater demand for teacher training and peer-to-peer learning,” said John Fisher, Life Lab program and partnerships director. “The summit provides this space and also raises awareness for the effectiveness of school gardens in teaching children that establishing healthy eating habits early in life will lead to better health outcomes as they become adults.”
Starting on Earth Day – April 22 – the four-day summit will have recipes for learning, including more than 115 workshop sessions and lightning talks led by school garden professionals. There will be field experiences to explore Denver’s school garden scene, an Emerging Leaders program to support young professionals in the field and networking opportunities designed to leave educators feeling empowered and appreciated in their work.
Jose Gonzales, founder and director emeritus of Latino Outdoors, will be in attendance for the keynote speech, along with special guest DJ Cavem, an eco-hiphop artist, who will serve as event emcee for a dinner planned in collaboration with four local student culinary programs.
Founded in 2015, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation aims to inspire, educate and empower individuals to live healthier lives. With a focus on nutrition education and fresh food access, its nonprofit partners teach children how to grow and prepare fresh foods, as well as why such foods are important to their bodies.
Sprouts Farmers Market covers all of the operational expenses of the foundation, ensuring that every dollar raised goes directly to programming.
Since its inception in 2015, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has granted $15 million to more than 300 nonprofit partners which have brought hands-on, garden-based learning to 1.5 million children and provided nutrition education programs to an estimated 900,000 K-12 students.
For more information, including a complete schedule of events, visit schoolgardensummitt.org.