For Immediate Release
Contact: Marian A. Myszkowski (360) 321-4232 email@example.com
South Whidbey School District Garden Program to receive $52,000 from community donations and Goose Community Grocer
LANGLEY, Whidbey Island, WA (January 15, 2016) – In October 2014, Goosefoot, a local non- profit community development organization, announced a challenge grant of $15,000 annually for three years from the Goose Community Grocer in support of the South Whidbey School District Garden Program. In 2014, over $22,000 was raised from the community and the Goose Grocer matched the total amount, donating $44,726 to the garden program.
In 2015, $26,048.39 was raised and the Goose will once again match the whole amount, for a grand total of $52,096.78 going directly to the school garden program to use during the 2015/2016 school year. The store’s $15,000 challenge grant will continue for the following school year as well (2016/2017). Funding from the three-year challenge grant cycle will allow for garden program staff to work with the school district in making the program self-sustainable.
The public is invited to join in the “big check” ceremony on Thursday, January 28, 4 pm at The Goose Grocer, where the donation will be given to the South Whidbey School District. The Goose is located at 14485 SR 525 on South Whidbey Island.
The South Whidbey School District Garden Program is the result of a unique collaboration amongst several Whidbey Island non-profits: Good Cheer Food Bank, Goosefoot, South Whidbey School District, Whidbey Institute, and Whidbey Island Nourishes (WIN).
The Goose Grocer is owned by Goosefoot. “The store is now able to give back to our community in a direct way, and the school garden is the perfect program to be supporting,” according to Sandra Whiting, Goosefoot’s executive director. “We are grateful to our donors and to the community at large for partnering with us to ensure that the school gardens will continue to thrive.”
“This money will allow us to hire a part-time farm manager and two part-time garden educators, I couldn’t be more thrilled!” says program manager Cary Peterson. “We’ve got a very busy year ahead of us and the community’s generosity will help us meet our goals.” Moving forward, Cary and her staff will continue working with faculty to develop and expand integrated curriculum across grades K-12. They will work on attaining their goal of year-round harvesting and delivery to the school lunch program. And planting fruit trees at the School Farm and the Langley Middle School are in the works as well.
Last year, the garden-based curriculum expanded to include all classes K-5 at the Elementary School and South Whidbey Academy, with every student picking and eating fresh veggies during classes. Garden-based science curriculum is now being taught to all 7th grade classes. And in the cafeterias, over 1000 pounds of fresh school-grown produce was delivered for school lunches.
For more information on the South Whidbey School District Garden Program, visit their website at https://whidbeyschoolgardens.wordpress.com/
Goosefoot is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing the rural character of Whidbey Island through projects that support the local economy and promote learning and community. Their mission is to build a sense of place and community, preserve rural traditions, enhance local commerce, and help create a healthy, sustainable future for South Whidbey Island.