MARIN CITY, Calif., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- On January 18, 2010, Carlos Santana and his Milagro Foundation, along with partner GrowingGreat, will celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday with the installation of the new "GrowingGreat Marin City" school garden at Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy Middle School, in the Sausalito Marin City School District, as part of Marin City's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day festivities. Over 60 North Bay Conservation Corps members and volunteers will be on-site from 9AM-12PM installing garden boxes, building raised planting beds, laying out pathways and covering them with wood chips, planting bare root fruit trees and vines, and much more.
In the heart of Marin County, California, Marin City is a community that is 94% low income with a critical need for accessibility to fresh vegetables and whole foods to promote healthy lifestyles. Lack of access to fresh, affordable food is highly correlated with poor health. The Milagro Foundation and GrowingGreat are working with the Sausalito Marin City School District to bring nutrition education and access to healthy foods to Marin City's children, families and community.
"GrowingGreat Marin City" is a comprehensive program integrating schools, homes and the community for better nutrition and healthier futures. The students and families of Bayside Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, and Willow Creek Academy will focus on nutrition in the following ways:
- School Gardens teaching students to appreciate fresh food and enriching their classroom curriculum
- Nutrition education giving children practical tools to make healthy choices
- Classroom cooking empowering children to prepare healthy foods
- Farm-to-School events connecting children to their food, the Marin City Farmers Market and their environment
- Parent education workshops and family events
- Intergenerational programs and community celebrations
The students will plant vegetables and fruits in March and, once the gardens are planted, the students will use the gardens to enrich their GrowingGreat nutrition and cooking program as well as their regular curriculum in math, science, language arts, social studies and visual arts. As a part of the program, the Marin Farmers Market will open their eighth market in the Marin City Gateway Shopping Center this spring. The market will take place on Saturday mornings, and residents are encouraged to sell their home cooked specialties at the market. The hope is that students will eventually offer home cooked items for sale from the school gardens.
In February 2009, Carlos Santana's Milagro Foundation received a three-year grant of $720,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan, "to support low-income communities in their development of healthy alternatives for children in the areas of food, nutrition and health." W.K. Kellogg Foundation Program Officer Ricardo Salvador first contacted the Milagro Foundation Executive Director Shelley Brown in Fall 2008 to offer funding. When asked what attracted Salvador to the Milagro Foundation, he cited the foundations' shared commitment to supporting under-served children and Milagro's "impressive history of serving children directly" and "ability to get into the trenches" as key determinants of why it is a perfect recipient of the funds.
With these funds, the Milagro Foundation will support programs serving some of the most vulnerable children in the United States. Milagro staff has sought out communities and community stakeholders who are undertaking a comprehensive approach to ensuring their children thrive by increasing access to Good Food -- food that is simultaneously healthy, green, fair and affordable, as defined by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation -- while also supporting nutrition education and fitness.
In addition to Marin City, CA, other funding priorities include the still devastated New Orleans/Gulf Coast region, and American Indian communities. Some of the deepest pockets of childhood hunger and nutrition-related health problems in the country exist among American Indians residing on rural reservations.
The Milagro Foundation was established by Carlos Santana and his family in 1998. With funds generated by concert tickets and generous individual and corporate donors, Milagro benefits underserved and vulnerable children around the world by making grants to community-based organizations that work with children in the areas of education, health and the arts. Milagro means "miracle." The image of children as divine miracles of light and hope, even as gifts to our lives, is the meaning of the name.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930. The organization supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
GrowingGreat is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring children and adults to adopt healthy eating habits. Founded in 1999, the organization currently provides school garden and nutrition education programs to over 8,000 students and their families a year in Southern California. GrowingGreat's founder, Marika Bergsund, is the Director of GrowingGreat Marin City.
For further information, please visit the Kellogg Foundation website at www.wkkf.org, the Milagro Foundation website at www.milagrofoundation.org, the GrowingGreat website at www.growinggreat.org , or the Sausalito/Marin City School District at www.sausalitomarincityschools.org.
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SOURCE Milagro Foundation