AMES, Iowa – The National 4-H Council and the Walmart Foundation are supporting 4-H Healthy Living programs across the country through Walmart Foundation Healthy Living Youth Voice, Youth Choice grants. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has received one of the 15 state grants and is using a portion of the money to provide mini-grants to Master Gardeners and 4-H youth to develop partnerships at the county level.
The mini-grants enable county-based Master Gardener volunteers and 4-H members to develop a youth/adult partnership team that plans and implements a community-based project. The focus of these projects is to promote healthy eating through the production of fruits and vegetables. Through this project, youth and adult team members will reach a minimum of 50 additional youth to educate them about healthy food choices.
Eleven counties received the mini-grants:
A Warren County collaboration between the Three Rivers 4-H Club, Master Gardener Darla Kickbush and the Wildcat ABC Daycare began in March. The project promotes healthy eating through the production of vegetables for the daycare and club youth and their families. Adults and youth are working together to create and maintain the garden.
“Our hope is that through this project, youth will learn there are a lot of vegetables that taste delicious. In addition, they will acquire basic gardening skills and knowledge, and learn how to plan, implement and evaluate education programs that promote healthy food choices,” said Susan James, project coordinator.
Project planning began in March and will continue until Aug. 23, 2012.
According to Chris Gleason, 4-H youth program specialist, there are many exciting plans for the other counties as well. In Johnson County, the Master Gardener/4-H team will lead lessons at two school gardens and develop an after-school garden club. The Poweshiek County team is establishing a Junior Master Gardener 4-H club in Grinnell and will expand programming to the Montezuma and Brooklyn areas during the summer.
“The projects in these eleven counties help young people learn about gardening and healthy food, as well as develop citizenship, leadership and communication skills as project team members share what they learn with other youth and adults in their communities,” Gleason said.
*Note: The picture shows the Warren County team planting the community garden.