The Growe Foundation has been at the forefront of a national movement to teach children about healthy eating and caring for the environment since 2006. Our vision is to unite people around a shared goal of creating healthier children, schools, communities and the planet.
And our gardens are changing young lives – our 1st, 3rd and 4th graders told us that they want to eat more vegetables; love learning in the garden, and now understand about measurement. The teachers are excited too, the lesson plans fit in well with their health unit, and they loved watching the love of learning the gardens create.
Your support to help us maintain these programs is critical: Each school garden program costs $7,450 per year for us to support; our schools contribute about 10% of this expense.
This year we’re hoping to expand that vision by joining Colorado’s largest day of giving, Colorado Gives Day, on December 5, 2017. This 24-hour movement unites thousands of Colorado nonprofits, and also includes the $1 Million Incentive Fund to help donations go even further.
Please help us reach our goal of $7,500, the cost to maintain just one school garden throughout the year, by scheduling your donation anytime before December 5.
Growe could also receive an extra boost through FirstBank’s $25,000 Grand Prize, which will be awarded to a lucky nonprofit. All nonprofits receiving 10 or more donations on Colorado Gives Day are automatically entered into the drawing! Donations are accepted at ColoradoGives.org. Just search for Growe Foundation, and you will connect to our online pre-screened profile.
What Growe Does
Environmental care and an understanding about where our food comes from is most effective if taught at an early age. We at the Growe Foundation believe that teaching children through hands-on garden programs gives them ownership of their food choices.
We offer easy-to-implement, garden-based, grade-specific lessons to provide hands on learning for elementary school students across the Boulder Valley School District. Our online lesson plans are easily integrated into classes.
These outdoor classes are made possible through on-site gardens and a supply of organic plants, seeds, and garden equipment to maintain the gardens throughout the seasons. We educate teachers and parents on the garden life cycle, assist with garden care, and provide a wealth of resources online to help them, as well as spring and fall lesson kits for the classes to use each year.
Our programs are currently at 20 area schools, reaching over 9,100 students, including 2,500 who qualify for Free and Reduced lunch meals. In the course of a year, over 13,000 hours of garden-based lessons are delivered through the Garden to Table programs.
Growe’s Growing Impact
National studies show that students at schools with hands on garden programs test 15% higher in math and science compared to students at schools without garden programs. Our children are eating better, learning better, and happier outside:
“The garden is cool because we get to go outside and be in nature.” (Fireside 5th grade)
“Gardening helps me learn measurement.” (High Peaks, 1st grade)
“What I learned from this activity is that planting is life.” (Sanchez, 1st grade)
“I liked it because there were healthy things to make you strong and to make you learn!!!!” (Pioneer, K)
“This is fun!” (Lafayette, 3rd) “Wow, look at all the vegetables we harvested!” “Can we do this again tomorrow?”
“I love learning OUTSIDE!” (Whittier, 5th)
And from our teachers:
“I was highly impressed with the variety of materials which were supplied to support the lesson. I like the fact that I can continue to refer back to the power point and videos even after being in the garden.”
Our Biggest Fundraising Needs
The total Growe Garden to Table program costs are $7,467 each year for each school. The schools pay a nominal fee, between $600-900/year and the Growe Foundation must fundraise the balance. Our donors and sponsors share our passion for teaching children about healthy eating choices, taking care of the environment, community building, and hands-on learning programs.
Parent and teacher engagement at our schools with a high number of low income families is particularly challenging: parents tend to be less available (one car only, work two jobs, home with siblings), and teachers are more stretched with children learning at different levels.
These schools’ PTAs have less funding available, which is an important resource for the school garden fee contribution. And these are the schools with the highest need for nutrition and environmental care education, as well as hands-on math and science programs. Child obesity, chronic health issues, and food allergies rates continue to be highest among low-income families.
Your donation on Colorado Gives Day will help bridge these gaps and bring healthy eating to all students in Boulder Valley.
Big Goals Mean Big Budgets
Our ultimate goal is to provide these curricula based lesson plans to two additional schools by 2019, reaching an additional 1,500 students, using a scaling model that gives them the tools and skills to care for their gardens.
Creating a more independent school model will enable us to expand our reach to more schools and extend our expertise with the staff and families of the children we currently serve. Our plan is to provide planting and garden care videos and workshops on maintaining the cycle of the school gardens for teachers, parent volunteers, landscape companies, and interns.
We are also developing more marketing materials for all our schools to help them recruit volunteers to help with the gardens, highlighting the many benefits of working with the school gardens.
We’re relying on the generosity of our community to help us hit these targets, so please schedule your Coloardo Gives Day donation today!