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PCGC Awards $70,000 for School Gardens

Madison Elementary Garden

Thank you to the Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy for awarding PEF $70,000 in grants to support school gardens to improve family health and nutrition, enhance science education, and help increase parental involvement in our Pasadena Unified School District schools.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy, a wonderful community organization providing school gardens that teach important life long learning outside the classroom,” said PEF Executive Director Patrick Conyers.

The funds will be used to support two new school-based gardens, at Pasadena High School and Franklin Elementary School, and to create a new full-time consultancy position at PUSD for a certificate-holding Master Gardener to coordinate the district’s school gardens. The individual serving in this position will be known as the “Pasadena Community Gardens Conservancy Master Gardener.”

In addition, the grants include funds to enhance the Madison Elementary Garden & Orchard, which was built with PCGC’s support in January, enabling the garden to comply with California health regulations so that fresh produce grown at Madison can be served to children in the school’s cafeteria.

“PUSD will make dramatic gains with this money,” said Ann Rector, PUSD Director of Health Programs. “This grant will provide us the opportunity to have a Master Gardener work with students and teachers during the school day. Thank you believing in this program,” she added.

“Our small foundation is privileged to help expand and strengthen PUSD’s exemplary school-garden program,” said Beth Hansen, Chair of The Conservancy’s Board of Directors, in announcing the grant awards. “Pasadena’s school gardens are not just growing, they are showing true progress as a means for teaching entire families about healthier lifestyles. We are proud that PUSD’s efforts embody our own foundation’s motto: planting ‘seeds of transformation’ in our city’s underserved neighborhoods.”

Ms. Hansen noted that PUSD recently determined, through a five-year longitudinal study of student health, that students’ average weight in three grades had dropped 11% because of targeted family nutrition-and-health programs, which include school gardens.

“I’d also like to extend our thanks to the wonderful team at the Pasadena Educational Foundation, who have encouraged and advised our small foundation and helped direct our philanthropy, and to the PUSD Board of Education,” she added.