On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) board approved the Learning Garden initiative to expand school garden programs across Pittsburgh. Over the next four years, TKC will build 50 Learning Gardens alongside a local non-profit called Grow Pittsburgh.
The project is funded through the generous support of the Heinz Endowments, the Henry L. Hillman Foundation and the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
PPS will be the first district in which this opportunity will be available. In the next six months, phase one of the project will be complete. The two organizations will partner with the District to design, build and launch programming at five schools that have previously expressed interest in having one. These schools include Pittsburgh Arsenal, Lincoln, Minadeo, Oliver Citywide and West Liberty.
“Through this partnership students will have an opportunity to participate in the type of hands on learning we know students need to stay engaged,” said PPS Superintendent Linda Lane. “We also know that, as we teach children the importance of healthy eating, they are far more likely interested in eating foods they have grown and prepared themselves. We are grateful to both Grow Pittsburgh and The Kitchen Community for their efforts to bring the benefits of gardening to our students.”
The Kitchen Community has built and supported 300 Learning Gardens across 4 regions nationally; Pittsburgh will be the 5th community they join. Learning Gardens are unique because they are custom designed to meet the needs of the school, offer raised beds to be accessible to all students, provide low-maintenance and built-in irrigation and can be installed on a variety of surfaces. In addition to its garden system, TKC brings scalability and additional national relationships in the school garden movement to Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh is such an awesome city. The community has come together to truly reinvent the food scene,” said Kimbal Musk, co-founder of The Kitchen Community. “By partnering with the dedicated people at Grow Pittsburgh we are joining the Pittsburgh community to accelerate real food culture at scale.”
Applications are now open for new gardens. They can be accessed at HERE under School Garden Programs. The deadline to apply is May 13th.