Austin, Texas-based health food giant Whole Foods Market recently launched a charitable organization aimed at improving child nutrition and fighting childhood obesity. The Whole Kids Foundation will work with schools and other charitable organizations to provide children with access to healthy meals.
The first program for the organization, the School Garden Grant Program, will launch next month. The foundation is partnering with FoodCorps to help support schools that want to create gardens for students. According to Whole Foods, “school gardens give children the valuable opportunity to learn and apply math, science and health concepts in a dynamic, interactive setting. Plus, growing food helps develop an appreciation for where food comes from and lets children take an active role in making healthy food choices.”
The Whole Kids Foundation is also working to add nutritious options to school lunch menus. The organization is a member of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, which aims to add 6000 salad bars to schools in the next two years. The initiative is partly funded by Whole Foods shoppers, who raised 1.4 million dollars for the program in 2010.
In addition, the foundation is launching a pilot program in Austin to help educate teachers about health, nutrition and cooking, with plans to expand the the program next year.
Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb, who serves as chairman for the Whole Kids Foundation, is pleased with the strides that the foundation is making. “We are excited to formalize our commitment to improving childhood nutrition and wellness through our new Foundation. By collaborating with schools and parents, we believe we can increase fruit and vegetable consumption both at schools and at home and make a significant contribution in the fight against childhood obesity.”
FoodCorps in a nonprofit that works to “recruit young adults for a yearlong term of public service in school food systems. Once stationed, FoodCorps members will build Farm to School supply chains, expand food system and nutrition education programs, and build and tend school food gardens.” To get involved, click here.