LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – More Valley students will get a chance to grow some of the food they eat and learn valuable science lessons at the same time thanks to a major grant from two non-profits.

Green Our Planet and Big Green announced Monday they’re making a joint investment of $300,000 in 16 Las Vegas area schools to boost garden initiatives during this school year. The organizations say this is the first step in a collaboration that promises to expand grant opportunities and support local food and school garden projects across the Valley.

“We are planting the seeds for a greener, more enriched educational future through this flourishing collaboration that will empower local schools and communities in Las Vegas,” says Ciara Byrne, CEO of Green Our Planet. “By providing essential resources to the selected schools we will ensure the students and instructors are well-equipped with direct support, ensuring the sustainability of these incredible new learning gardens throughout the year.”

This is the second year in a row, Green Our Planet and Big Green have gifted CCSD with grants for gardens.

“Building on the 15 schools that were granted last year, we are adding 16 more Las Vegas schools to the program for the 2023-24 school year,” says Sam Koentopp, Director of Programs at Big Green. “More young people are being connected to their food through the garden and with these opportunities we can start to see great improvements not just in food access but also in physical, mental, and social health, and increased richness in their classroom experience.”

Teachers from the 16 schools chosen will kick off the process on February 10, when they’ll build their first garden together. They’ll learn more about creating experiences that teach, and about how to get gardens started at their own schools.

Las Vegas moms Ciara Byrne and Kim McQuarry planted the seeds of Green Our Planet started at a kitchen table right. Their organization has grown to more than 300 school gardens and hydroponic projects in all 50 states. They also have projects working in Guinea and the United Arab Emirates. The projects teach kids about science, technology, engineering, and math in a real-world, hands-on setting.

Big Green was established by chef and restauranteur Kimball Musk, brother to Elon, in 2011 with a similar mission. It aims to connect kids to real food through what it calls “learning gardens.” It will provide modular garden beds, in addition to the grants, to kick off the schools’ campus gardens.


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