Local schools looking to cultivate their own garden — but don’t know quite where to start — are invited to receive the financial and curriculum assistance they need by applying for Tractor Supply Company’s school garden program “Dig It” through Oct. 15.
The program, which launched last spring in Tennessee and New York, was the result of Tractor Supply’s desire to provide schools with an enriched, hands-on curriculum that would reinforce responsibility and teamwork, while deepening students’ understanding of where food comes from.
“Our investment in this program is an extension of our passion and commitment to educating future generations about the importance of agriculture,” said Jessica Holmes, store marketing manager at Tractor Supply and creator of the program. “Schools are the center of our communities and if we can offer a method of teaching that gets kids excited about learning, we’re not only setting our teachers up for success but our students, too.”
Through their partnership with National Agriculture in the Classroom, an organization which promotes agricultural literacy, Tractor Supply was able to develop a comprehensive curriculum guide and award 88 schools — 33 in Tennessee and 55 in New York — with a $500 grant to start or sustain a school garden program.
In total, more than 17,000 students were impacted and upon completion of the program, were presented with a kid-friendly garden tool set and a Master Gardener Certificate.
“There’s something so important about getting kids outside of the traditional classroom setting and allowing them to use their hands and minds in a different way,” said Lisa White, Director of Store Marketing for Tractor Supply. “The value of a program like Dig It was reinforced by its success in New York and Tennessee and we’re extremely excited to watch it grow as we introduce it to schools in California, Utah and Pennsylvania.”
Tractor Supply operates 47 stores in California and hopes to establish the Dig It program with each store location.
For schools that would like to start a school garden, revitalize an already existing garden, or expand its garden program, Tractor Supply is accepting applications through Oct. 15, with programs set to begin in February 2017.
To apply, schools must be kindergarten through fifth grade in California, Utah or Pennsylvania and located within 35 miles of a Tractor Supply Company store. Applications are available at https://form.jotform.com/62155743106148.