Saturday, October 29, 2011

Slow Food First Coast Announces School Garden Grants Winners

Slow Food First Coast (SFFC) is proud to announce the winners of the Fall 2011 School Garden Grants. Congratulations to the winners:

Penny Kennedy, Ocean Palms Elementary School
Doreen Halvorsen, PV/PV Elementary School      
Nancy Hatton, Montessori Tides School  
Steve Mendenhall, Biltmore Elementary School  
Angelete Deason, Tolbert Elementary School
Susan Burns, RV Daniels Elementary School

The SFFC School Gardens Committee received several noteworthy applications from across St. Johns and Duval Counties and was very pleased with the quality and originality of the proposals submitted.  According to SFFC leader Richard Villadóniga, “As a teacher, I know I work with many creative and talented educators, but I was very impressed by the high caliber of extraordinary applications we received.  It made for a most difficult selection process, but in the end, we are confident we decided on the proposals that will have the greatest positive impact on the students of St. Johns and Duval Counties.”

In addition to its other efforts in supporting the local foods movement, Slow Food First Coast has focused on programs centered on the youth of our region, including offering teachers this opportunity to receive a raised bed container garden kit, complete with funds for organic soil and heritage seeds, a guidebook and lesson plans, a Slow Food plaque, and mentoring with experienced gardeners to learn about organic farming.  In return, winners will plant a school garden this Fall, record their work in a portfolio, and offer their students a taste experience with their harvest, all in an effort to promote a healthier, more sustainable food system and educate children about making more informed food and nutrition choices.  More school garden grants will be offered in Spring 2012 for interested educators.  Slow Food First Coast is a non-profit organization that promotes a food system based on quality and pleasure, environmental sustainability, and social justice.  For more information, please visit