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    Key Food Hosts Project Learning Garden Contest

    School competition a partnership with Dole Fruit Bowls, Captain Planet Foundation

    Key Food, Dole Fruit Bowls and Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) have joined forces for a contest in which two grand prize-winning New York City grade schools will win a Captain Planet Learning Garden.

    The grand prize consists of installation, or expansion of an existing garden; a mobile garden cooking cart; standards-based learning garden lessons; lesson supply kits; and a day of professional development for teachers. Additionally, the two winning schools will receive a year's supply of Dole Fruit Bowls.

    The gardens allow teachers to engage in project-based learning, hold fresh vegetable-tasting events, and provide a closer look at the role that fresh fruits and vegetables play in a healthy lifestyle.

    "As a food retailer, we pride ourselves on nutritional education and healthy eating options," said Michele Gissi, interactive marketing and PR manager at Staten Island, N.Y.-based Key Food Stores Co-Operative Inc., which, along with Dole Fruit Bowls and CPF, provided a grant to enable the schools to have the gardens installed.

    "[T]he best learning gardens have the power to teach students about good nutrition and how fruits and vegetables grow, even when they begin simply by planting seeds in up-cycled Dole Fruit Bowls,” noted Stan Stuka, marketing director for the product line, which is produced by Dole Packaged Foods LLC, a subsidiary of Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole International Holdings.

    "We know that when kids engage with a learning garden, they develop an early palate for fresh fruits and vegetables and an authentic understanding and appreciation for the natural world in which they live," added Leesa Carter, executive director of Atlanta-based CPF, named for an animated kids' show, "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," which ran from 1990 to 1995.

    A panel of judges will choose the two grand-prize winners, which will be revealed on National Food Day, Oct. 24. Those interested can enter the contest online by Sept. 22.

    Key Food comprises more than 150 independently owned and operated grocery stores that operate under the Key Food, Key Food Marketplace, Key Fresh & Natural, Food Dynasty, Food World, Holiday Farms, Locust Valley, and Milford Farms banners in all five boroughs, Long Island, upstate New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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