Wednesday, June 3, 2009

USDA Joins up with DC School to grow local food!!!

Share Our Strength, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food Network Plant Edible "GOOD FOOD GARDEN" at Southeast Washington, DC School
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Unveils Garden; Shares Agency's Priorities on Improving Child Nutrition

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2009 - At a "ribbon planting" ceremony today, Share Our Strength(r), the leading national organization working to end childhood hunger in America, Food Network and Comcast, were joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to create and unveil an edible "Good Food Garden" that will bring healthy, fresh and nutritious food to children from underserved communities in the nation's capital. The self-contained garden was planted at The SEED School in southeast Washington, DC (4300 C Street SE) and will remain there permanently as a working garden for the school children who will integrate the garden into the 7th grade civics and life science curricula.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack worked in the garden side-by-side with students from the school; Charles Adams, Head of School; parents and Food Network celebrity Aida Mollenkamp, star of "Ask Aida." Together they planted cabbages, squash, melons, beans, artichokes, cardoons and a variety of greens and learned how to care for this sustainable garden. Students received seed packets and pamphlets about fruits and vegetables, and a hands-on vegetable tasting was available to all involved.

Good Food Gardens is a charitable program created by Food Network, Share Our Strength and Teich Garden Systems to provide educational, sustainable gardens to schools and community centers in need. The aim of the program is to educate families on the importance of incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their daily diets, and to inspire healthy eating habits for life.

The SEED School, a public school located in southeast, Washington DC, operates as a tuition-free boarding school, providing a high-performing, college-preparatory curriculum for students from underserved communities. Charles Adams, Head of School for SEED D.C. shared, "At SEED we are committed to the academic growth and social development of our students. What better way than a garden to not only viscerally demonstrate the beauty and miracle of growth but also enable our young people to become involved with the movement for good food, healthy lives and a sustainable planet."

"This Good Food Garden can change the attitudes and habits of SEED School students. By bringing students into the garden, we can strengthen their connections to food, increase their nutrition awareness, and foster healthy eating habits for a lifetime," said Bill Shore, Founder and Executive Director, Share Our Strength. "With more than 12 million children at risk of hunger in the U.S., we applaud the Food Network for its foresight and social entrepreneurship, and are pleased to partner with them in this important effort."

Secretary Vilsack stated, "The USDA is committed to making healthy food accessible to children in need, and to improving the dietary habits of today's youth. This garden stands as an example of what the USDA would like to see across the country. We believe children in underserved communities deserve a hands-on experience growing delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables."

"Food Network is proud to be a part of the national conversation to feed kids better, and to work with Share Our Strength to create opportunities for families to experience fresh, nutrient-rich foods as a part of their everyday lives," said Sarah Copeland, Food Network spokesperson for the Good Food Gardens. "There are few greater ways to empower a child than to give them the tools to feed themselves well so that they can lead healthy, vibrant lives."

About Share Our Strength

Share Our Strength(r) ( is the leading national organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. We weave together a net of community groups, activists and food programs to catch children at risk of hunger and ensure they have nutritious food where they live, learn and play. We work with the culinary industry to create engaging, pioneering programs like Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation(r), Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale(r), Share Our Strength's A Tasteful Pursuit(r), Share Our Strength's Great American Dine Out(r), and Share Our Strength's Operation Frontline(r).

About the USDA

USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science and efficient management. Specifically, USDA expands markets for agricultural products and supports international economic development, further develops alternative markets for agricultural products and activities, provides financing needed to help expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities and infrastructure in rural America, enhances food safety by taking steps to reduce the prevalence of food borne hazards from farm to table, improves nutrition and health by providing food assistance and nutrition education and promotion and manages and protects America's public and private lands working cooperatively with other levels of government and the private sector.

About Food Network

FOOD NETWORK ( is a unique lifestyle network and Web site that strives to be way more than cooking. The network is committed to exploring new and different ways to approach food - through pop culture, competition, adventure, and travel - while also expanding its repertoire of technique-based information. Food Network is distributed to more than 98 million U.S. households and averages more than 9 million unique Web site users monthly. Food Network programming is available internationally in more than 150 countries. Food Network is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Knoxville, Tenn. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates HGTV (, DIY Network (, Great American Country ( and Fine Living Network (, is the manager and general partner. 

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