Sprouts Farmers Market Plans to Build 24 School Gardens in a Single Day
On September 23rd, approximately 500 Sprouts associates across the U.S. will gather to build 24 school gardens in 24 hours. The retailer’s company-wide volunteer service days have resulted in employees’ donating more than 10,000 hours of service in the past five years.
The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation will provide schools all over the nation with a new or refreshed learning garden space as part of a contest that launched in April as a part of Earth Month celebrations – 24 Gardens in 24 Hours in 24 Communities. The schools were chosen following an intensive three-month vetting process from a pool of more than 3,000 nominations by Sprouts customers.
“Sprouts is committed to providing children with hands-on educational experiences that shape how they think about food,” said Sprouts President and COO Nick Konat. “We believe that our foundation’s efforts to make these connections will play a pivotal role for children to develop an understanding of the importance of healthy eating. We are also very excited for our team members to give back to their local communities on September 23rd as we build these learning gardens in 24 hours.”
The foundation will provide further assistance by funding training for educators at each school, giving them the tools to help effectively incorporate the new gardens into educational programs for all grade levels. A partnership with Burlington, Vermont-based nonprofit KidsGardening will allow the chosen schools to become part of a learning assistance community where the educators responsible for the gardens will receive ongoing assistance and guidance from a mentor for the full school year.
“This program is exciting because we are able to invite our customers to help us connect with new schools through the nomination process,” noted Lyndsey Waugh, Executive Director of the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation. “These schools represent 24 incredible communities, comprised of teachers and students, that will now have access to an outdoor garden, where classroom lessons can be brought to life through hands-on learning, and where students can experience the magic of watching seeds sprout, and fresh fruits and vegetables grow. We are glad we can play a role in making this possible.”
The winning schools are in 23 states in Sprouts communities: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
All winners will receive: a $15,000-$20,000 construction grant awarded to the school directly to help them build a new learning garden or refresh an existing garden facility already on campus; they will also receive a $5,000 program grant to support nutrition education with lessons taking place in the garden. The Foundation will partner with each chosen school to organize a volunteer workday for the garden construct or refresh on Saturday, September 23rd.
Sprouts Farmers Market held its first Growing School Gardens Summit, in Denver in April 2022. Hosted by the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation, the first-ever national assembly focused completely on school gardens brought together more than 400 educators and leaders from all over the country who were working to support existing school garden programs at the school, regional and national levels. Since 2015, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has gifted more than $18 million to expand nutrition instruction and facilitate access to fresh produce. In 2023 alone, 3 million-plus children are expected to participate in nutrition and garden-based learning programs funded by the retailer.
Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 crew members and operates nearly 400 stores in 23 states.