Contact: Jennifer Grabner
The Southern Boone Learning Garden (SBLG) - in partnership with the City of Ashland, the Southern Boone County R-1 School District, the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, the PedNet Coalition, University of Missouri Extension's Healthy Lifestyle Initiative, the Southern Boone Chamber of Commerce and many other local agencies, organizations and businesses - has been awarded more than $475,000 to form a Southern Boone Healthy Community Partnership (HCP) and expand Learning Garden services to include all students, teachers and families throughout the district. The funding will be provided as part of the Missouri Foundation for Health's Community Health and Prevention program, which "focuses on helping establish communities where good health, healthy behaviors, and the healthy choice are the norm."
The five-year, $475,000 grant, will help Southern Boone County become a model of healthy and active living for rural communities throughout Missouri, developing a broad-based, multi-sector HCP which supports and promotes policy initiatives, programming and changes to the built environment to facilitate a healthier, more active community.
SBLG co-founder Jennifer Grabner is delighted to be one of the partnerships selected from across the state for this highly competitive grant program. According to Mrs. Grabner, key components of the project are:
• Conducting a community health needs assessment
• Development of the Walking School Bus program in the Southern Boone School District
• Providing youth gardening workshops for rural Missouri schools and communities
• Providing ongoing professional development workshops to integrate garden and classroom teaching
• Expanding SBLG services to include all middle and high school students, teachers and families
The SBLG is an Ashland-based school and community garden whose mission is to provide outdoor classroom space and resources; facilitate fun, authentic learning experiences that challenge students to embrace positive life skills and promote collaborative efforts between the Learning Garden, the school district and the community. Started in 2007 as an after-school garden club run by two innovative moms serving 13 elementary students, the SBLG now regularly serves 700+ students both during and after school, with the help of more than 60 volunteers.
The SBLG will announce the award to students and the community tomorrow, Tuesday, November 20th, at approximately 1:40 p.m. at the Southern Boone County Primary School, located at 803 S. Henry Clay Blvd in Ashland. SBLG representatives will be available following the presentation for interviews.