FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, January 11, 2019
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO - City of Chicago officials joined United States Senator Dick Durbin, Chicago Public Schools and Mars Food to announce a $500,000 donation to the Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation (CFF) from the company’s Seeds of Change™ organic food brand. The grant will support the Eat What You Grow (EWYG) program at 130 CPS schools across Chicago, including the cultivation of learning gardens, farm-to-table education and professional development, farmers markets at two schools and 30 summer gardening jobs for high school students.
“The single most important investment we can make in the future of Chicago is in the children of Chicago and their education,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I am thrilled that Mars Food is helping to build school gardens so that students can learn first-hand the importance of healthy eating.”
“Today’s announcement is great news for Chicago Public Schools’ students and a good example of a company giving back here in Chicago,” United States Senator Dick Durbin said. “The Eat What You Grow program will help 130 Chicago schools cultivate gardens for students to learn the value of healthy eating. This is the kind of project-based learning that will improve children’s health and give our students lessons that will last a lifetime.”
“We believe this grant has the power to galvanize thousands of students, their teachers and families to embrace learning through gardening, and inspire them to be a source of change in their schools and communities,” said Caroline Sherman, vice president of corporate affairs for Mars Food North America. “It’s especially meaningful to us that the CPS program closely aligns with both our Mars Food purpose – Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow. – and that of Seeds of Change, a brand committed to helping others enjoy the goodness of organic food more often.”
EWYG is a part of the CPS Farm to School program, which encourages students to participate in every step of the food system from growing and harvesting in their school gardens, to integrating the produce into meals. EWYG provides a way for students to learn about growing and harvesting produce in their school gardens while providing valuable education on nutrition at schools across the City.
“School gardens serve as a gathering place for communities while providing students with valuable skills and education on nutrition,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “We are grateful to Seeds of Change and Mars Food for supporting these critical programs that enrich school grounds while providing critical learning opportunities and skills through teaching students how to grow, harvest and prepare food.”
Through this generous donation, CFF hopes to provide all interested schools that are EWYG-certified with a grant of $1,500 that will provide a stipend for a garden lead as well as school garden supplies.
Seeds of Change’s donation will ensure EWYG can continue to serve communities across the city. It will also enable CPS students, teachers and families to reap the physical and emotional benefits of gardening, which research shows can have a lasting and positive effect. Throughout its 30-year history, Seeds of Change has donated more than one million dollars to support community and school gardening programs, benefiting 35,000 people and helping to grow 90 tons of produce.
For more information about Seeds of Change, visit seedsofchange.com. #BeASeedOfChange.
Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
About Mars Food
Mars Food is a fast-growing dinnertime food business, making tastier, healthier, easier meals that bring the world to the dinner table. Headquartered in London, Mars Food's portfolio of leading brands includes: UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, SEEDS OF CHANGE™, MASTERFOODS®, MIRACOLI®, TASTY BITE®, SUZI WAN®, EBLY®, ROYCO®, KAN TONG®, ABU SIOUF®, RARIS®, and PAMESELLO®. Our purpose – Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow. – drives our business to be a leader in health & wellbeing and sustainability. Mars Food is a segment of Mars, Incorporated.