CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Education has launched a container gardening pilot to help young children cultivate a taste for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Thirty-two child care sites in 12 counties that participate in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program are taking part in the container gardening pilot. Counties participating in the gardening pilot are Cabell, Jackson, Harrison, Gilmer, Greenbrier, Kanawha, Marion, Mason, Putnam, Upshur, Wayne and Wyoming.
“Exposing young children to the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetables can help them develop lifelong healthy eating habits,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “Good nutrition can fuel academic success throughout a student’s academic career.”
Each participating center receives a two-year grant to grow a container garden in their child care centers. The gardens are to contain strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, onions, lettuce, bush beans, basil, cilantro and chives. The produce and herbs harvested from the gardens will be incorporated into the child centers’ food programs and used for taste tests. The grants can be used to buy soil, five containers, child-sized tools, and travel for training.
Sponsors of the Child and Adult Care Food Program provide meals at no extra charge to all enrolled participants at each participating facility, regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital status or family status.
For more information, contact the Office of Child Nutrition at (304) 558-3396 or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.