The Plant with a Purpose Campaign is one of many resources in GEF’s Green Thumb Challenge youth gardening initiative which engaged over 750,000 children last year. The Green Thumb Challenge website aims to connect children to nature by guiding participants through the process of starting, maintaining, and sustaining a youth garden of any size. The website offers a multitude of fun, standards-based lessons and activities that link the garden to the classroom.
The Plant with a Purpose Campaign is a simple, informative tool that helps educators and youth leaders engage children around hunger-relief efforts. This resource provides helpful tips for schools and youth groups on how to run a successful garden-to-food pantry operation, from instructions on communicating with your local food pantry to key terms and statistics about hunger and malnutrition in America. The campaign also highlights AmpleHarvest.org's searchable database which makes it easy for gardeners to locate their closest food pantry, many of which are eager to accept the excess harvest.
This campaign not only provides the instructions for a fun and fulfilling youth garden project, but also brings attention to the salient issues of hunger, malnutrition, and food waste in the U.S. Nearly one in four children in the U.S. are food insecure, meaning their food intake falls below minimum calorie requirements. Going hand in hand with food insecurity is nutritional deficiency; over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and as a result of poor nutrition one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. At the same time, there is an enormous amount of healthy food going to waste every day. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away a pound of food per person daily, which adds up to well over 100 billion pounds of food per year. Plant with a Purpose helps young people make the mental connection between excess produce and the ever-present need for fresh, healthy food, thus motivating them to help mitigate both hunger and food waste.
More About the Green Thumb Challenge
The Green Thumb Challenge aims to connect children with nature and the healthy benefits of gardening as part of a nationwide movement to get kids growing. GEF's "turn-key" garden plans provide participants with beginner-friendly resources to plant gardens of any size, as well as, fun activities and standards-based lessons linking the classroom to the garden. Visit www.greenthumbchallenge.org to enroll for free today!
About Green Education Foundation
GEF is committed to creating a sustainable future through education. GEF provides curriculum and resources to K-12 students and teachers worldwide with the goal of challenging youth to think holistically and critically about global environmental concerns and solutions. Visit www.GreenEducationFoundation.org to register and to gain full access to GEF’s free comprehensive library of standards-based lessons and activities.
For more information contact srubin@GreenEducationFoundation.org or call 888.668.2298
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About AmpleHarvest.org, Inc.
AmpleHarvest.org, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501c3 charity which has received backing and support from the US Department of Agriculture, Google Inc., National Gardening Association, the Garden Writers of America, Rotary International, National Council of Churches, Feeding America and nearly all of its member food banks as well as numerous faith groups. The AmpleHarvest.org Campaign works to diminish hunger, improve nutrition and help the environment in America by educating, encouraging and enabling gardeners to easily find a local food pantry eager to receive their excess garden bounty. For more information on the campaign, visit www.AmpleHarvest.org/
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