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Wellmark Foundation grant funds awarded to the program benefitting six Des Moines area schools

Grant, chosen from over 130 requests, will fund the Fostering Healthy Diets in Children Through Vibrant School Projects Program

May 6, 2013

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(Des Moines, Iowa) – The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has received a $16,600 grant from the Wellmark Foundation to implement the Fostering Healthy Diets in Children Through Vibrant School Projects program. Benefitting six Des Moines area schools, the program seeks to address the national and local problem of childhood obesity by fostering scholastic food environments that feature and emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables and sustainable, garden-based education. The schools impacted include: Moulton, Carver, Smouse, Hillis, Cowles, and Goodrell.

Fostering Healthy Diets in Children Through Vibrant School Projects
The premise of the project is to demonstrate beautiful, productive school gardens that engage students in experiential learning, community members in volunteerism, and teachers and staff in teaching and shared leadership. NCAT’s FoodCorps members are assisting schools by facilitating regular usage of the gardens through classroom and afterschool garden-based cooking and nutrition lessons. School gardens are spaces where children learn to grow fruits and vegetables, and in so doing begin to grasp the connections between the food they eat, the soil and the sunshine, nutrition, cooking, and agriculture. The excitement over gardens, health, and fresh produce is infectious, and children often inspire their families to start eating more fruits and vegetables.

Grant one of only ten selected
The Wellmark Foundation is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans, South Dakotans and their communities. Through its 2012 Healthy Communities Grant Program, the Foundation received 135 grant requests seeking support for smaller community health projects. This grant award to National Center of Appropriate Technology represents one of ten competitively awarded grants to establish pilot efforts or expand health initiatives throughout Iowa and South Dakota.

The Wellmark Foundation is proud to award a cumulative total of over $190,000 to these ten grant recipients to serve as catalyst funding for local health projects.

“The National Center for Appropriate Technology and FoodCorps have developed a remarkable project for Des Moines public schools,” says Matt McGarvey, director of the Wellmark Foundation. “The students, their families, and faculty will all benefit from establishing and maintaining school gardens and receiving nutrition education. The project has great potential to positively affect the childhood obesity problem in our community.”

National Center for Appropriate Technology
NCAT (www.ncat.org) is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1976, whose mission is to help people by championing small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources. NCAT’s Midwest regional office in Des Moines serves as host site for FoodCorps in Iowa, where six members are serving in Des Moines, as well as Waterloo and six school rural school districts in Northeast Iowa. NCAT – Midwest also serves as the Midwest Regional Lead Agency for the National Farm to School Network.

For more information on the Fostering Healthy Diets in Children Through Vibrant School Projects program, contact Hannah Lewis, 515-288-0460, hannahl@ncat.org. For more information regarding the Wellmark Foundation and its grant programs, visit www.wellmark.com/foundation.


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