School garden program is under financial threat


Posted by
Tue, January 29, 2008


The Healthy Eating Active Living project, founded at Hatch Elementary School in 2005, will be out of money in September reports the County Times. About 650 third- and fourth-graders plant, harvest, and cook their own vegetables under the program. Farallone View Elementary joined in November and El Granada Elementary started this week.

Part of the problem is that the HEAL program only managed to raise $100,000 of the $115,000 it needed this year for its expansion (the final school, Kings Mountain Elementary in Woodside, is due to start
its project in the next two weeks). The biggest problem is that the program has only managed to secure a commitment of $21,000 so far for next year, from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Many previous grantors, such as Kaiser Permanente, are expected to commit less money than in previous years. And several other local sources of income are drying up.

"The city can’t help us, the school can’t help us, and the small organizations that are out here certainly can’t pick up a $100,000 tab," said Hellerich, adding that she had already been turned down for $40,000 worth of grants.

The program is already getting money from the schools and parent-teacher organizations, but state budget cuts put that money at risk.

To support the HEAL project with a donation, visit http://www.cabrillo.k12.ca.us/heal/home.html, call 650-283-2920 or e-mail [email protected]


I am one of the HEAL instructors at El Granada and I’m also a parent of a child at the school.  We just began our first week of instruction.  The students are genuinely excited to have the opportunity to grow and eat their own fresh vegetables and fruits.  I certainly hope the program can continue.  It has been so much fun working with the kids.

Just to clarify one error from the original article: the instructional portion of the program is geared towards second graders in the spring and third graders in the fall.  At Hatch, where the program is more established, older students also get involved by selling produce and other freshly-harvested items after school.