PHILADELPHIA – Health Promotion Council (HPC), an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), was awarded a Farm to School Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funding will address inequities in access to therapy garden activities and local foods for students ages 5 to 21 with intellectual and developmental disabilities attending Fairwold Academy, an Approved Private School (APS) and program of PHMC.

The grant will support the implementation of the Garden of Eatin’ Project over a period of two years. The current garden infrastructure will be expanded to create an edible teaching garden, integrate agriculture and nutrition education, and hold special events to increase students’ fresh produce consumption and nutritional knowledge.

The integration of therapy garden activities in health and human service agencies has expanded in recent years, but despite the potential benefits for children’s motor skills, socialization, and education, those with intellectual disabilities and mental health disorders face barriers to participation and inclusion in these activities.

“This is an amazing opportunity for Fairwold students to learn about growing our own fresh produce and the benefits of nutrition,” said Dr. Maria Kreiter, Executive Director of PHMC Educational Programs. “The Garden of Eatin’ Project started with our culinary program, and partnering with HPC brings a tangible farm-to-table concept to our whole school community.”

For more information about Farm to School Grants, read more from this U.S. Department of Agriculture press release.