Three Schools Receive Awards from Delta Garden Study

Arkansas schools receive funds to support vegetable gardens for obesity prevention.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (News Release) - Three Arkansas schools have been selected to receive $7,000 awards from the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) Delta Garden Study to support vegetable gardens and garden-based education programming during the coming school year.

The state’s largest garden-based childhood obesity prevention research study, funded by USDA, and in collaboration with Bank of America, accepted competing applications for the awards earlier this year and made selections based on specific criteria. The schools that qualified will receive financial assistance to build and maintain an on-campus vegetable garden, as well as training for teachers and garden participants on how to integrate the garden into science and other curriculum.

The Delta Garden Study and ACHRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Program teams will also make site visits to assist with the garden’s design and build out, provide technical support and offer materials ranging from garden recipe books to study guides.

The schools that will receive Delta Garden Study support are:
  • Access Academy in Little Rock: The 120-student campus offers a horticulture program, including a greenhouse and garden area with propagation, for its students with developmental delays and learning disabilities. With the Delta Garden Study assistance, Access Academy hopes to expand to include a vegetable garden as a “launch point for food and nutrition education for individuals with special needs.”
  • Bayyari Elementary School in Springdale: The elementary school which serves 650 children from pre-school through fifth grade sits in the middle of a “food desert” with no grocery stores located within a short driving distance, and 94 percent of students live in poverty. The grant application explained that many of the families the school serves “are on an extremely limited budget and unable to purchase fresh vegetables, fruits or adequate proteins.” With Delta Garden Study funds Bayyari’s leadership plans to start a school garden to serve its students, as well as the surrounding community. The team has begun strategy and development, but will draw on the resources from the Delta Garden Study to make the garden a reality.
  • Mansfield High School: The 290-student high school sits in a rural district serving a 250-plus square mile area. More than half of its population is on free and reduced lunch and at least a third is classified as overweight or obese, many coping with diabetes and high blood pressure. Mansfield will use its Delta Garden Study funding to support the construction of an on-campus greenhouse that will be used as a teaching tool, as well as for after-school programming with students and families. According to Principal Tina Smith, the garden and greenhouse will give the school an “opportunity for students to be active while learning a valuable, life-long skill.”
The Delta Garden Study measures the impact of school gardens on youth fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, academic achievement and school bonding, and obesity rates. Since 2010, the Delta Garden Study has built and maintained seven school garden programs in Arkansas.
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