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10/14/2021

Sprouts Farmers Market Makes Locally Grown Produce More Accessible

Foundation provides $3M in grants to improve garden-based learning
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj profile picture
Sprouts Farmers Market Makes Locally Grown Produce More Accessible
One of Sprouts' grant recipients, Jones Valley Teaching Farm, helps its graduate apprentices and instructors bring gardening and culinary arts skills to students at their homes.

Sprouts Farmers Market is strengthening local food systems by providing communities with access to fresh, nutritious food. The Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation is providing $3 million in grants to 115 nonprofit organizations to improve school garden learning and nutrition education.

Since its inception in 2015, the foundation has granted $15 million to more than 300 nonprofit partners that have brought hands-on, garden-based learning to 1.5 million children and provided nutrition education programs to an estimated 900,000 K-12 students. Sprouts covers all of the foundation’s operational expenses, ensuring that every dollar raised goes directly to programming.

“Sprouts is committed to strengthening local food systems by providing our communities with access to fresh, nutritious food, and empowering children with the knowledge and resources to live a healthier life,” said Sprouts CEO Jack Sinclair. “Our foundation’s work with local partners in this effort is just one of the many ways Sprouts is growing goodness in our communities.”

A list of the foundation’s 2021 grant recipients can be found here. Nonprofit partners range from those working at the hyperlocal level to those operating nationwide. Highlights from this year's grand program include:

  • $2.2 million of awards will be directed to capacity and infrastructure development for school garden support organizations and strengthening community-based food systems
  • 15 nonprofits will provide apprenticeship programs to industrious teens through hands-on agriculture and business career experience, providing the skills they’ll need for their future
  • 70 grantees run gardening programs, in schools or in the community, removing economic barriers to bring locally grown garden-fresh produce to more than 600,000 people
  • 42 of this year’s grantees also provide family programming, bringing children and parents together to learn about gardening, nutrition and making healthy lifestyle choices on a budget

“Our partner organizations are led by incredible changemakers working at the neighborhood level to build healthy, vibrant communities, and to make healthy habits rewarding and enjoyable for children and families,” said Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation Executive Director Lyndsey Waugh. “With this in mind, we value the importance of working with our partners for the long haul, and have invested in organizational capacity, program infrastructure and multiyear funding to empower these leaders to be as effective in their work as possible.”

Grant recipient highlights include:

  • Spaces of Opportunity (Phoenix): This real-life laboratory reaches the community through fresh produce distribution and a farmers’ market expanding access to healthy food, and hands-on student programs that foster personal and social growth. Sprouts’ support will be used for infrastructure building, including cool storage, a commercial kitchen and other property enhancements.
  • Jones Valley Teaching Farm (JVTF) (Birmingham, Ala.): JVTF graduate apprentices and instructors bring gardening and culinary arts skills to students at their homes, which allow Birmingham youth to build essential life skills. This winter, JVTF will open its Center for Food Education, a new facility featuring a culinary and nutrition wing funded by Sprouts.
  • Cooking with CHOICES (Center for Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully) (Atlanta): This parent-child resource center works with children diagnosed as at risk for obesity. Sprouts’ support funds hands-on cooking programs and workshops that teach children and their parents how to make healthy food choices and allow them to build skills, confidence and preferences for healthy eating.
  • Sage Garden Project (San Diego): The project’s Nutritional Science Lab, mobile cooking carts and outdoor school garden spaces allow students to engage in science experience with edible results. Sprouts’ multiyear funding has helped Sage Garden Project expand its operation to 60 schools throughout Southern California, affecting 30,000 students and their families each year.
  • Fleet Farming/IDEAS for Us (Orlando, Fla.): This nonprofit urban agriculture program converts underused lawn space into productive localized edible gardens, or micro farms. This year, Sprouts funded the purchase of a new truck to assist with farm production, the creation of a kitchen and prep area at the farm, and other supplies.

Meanwhile, Sprouts will hold an exclusive wellness livestream event, scheduled for Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. PDT, that will feature expert panelists discussing how food and nutrients can alleviate anxiety and inflammation while supporting a healthy immune system. 

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market, which employs more than 35,000 associates at 360-plus stores in 23 states, is No. 48 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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