The Walmart Foundation and the Dunwoody Walmart have awarded a grant of $1,000 to Vanderlyn Elementary School to be used in the school’s organic gardening program.
The grant was awarded through the foundation’s Local Community Contribution/Hunger Outreach Grant Program.
“We believe that your organization is doing important work to the communities you serve, and we are proud that we are able to support you in your efforts,” the foundation told Tina Wilkinson, a parent volunteer at Vanderlyn, in an e-mail announcing the selection of Vanderlyn for the grant. Wilkinson, with pre-approval from Principal Noel Maloof, filled out and submitted the grant application.
This is the second grant Walmart has awarded Vanderlyn. The previous grant was for $2,000 and was awarded Nov. 23, 2009. Half of the grant was used for the organic vegetable garden and the other half was used for several PTA programs, Wilkinson said.
She and another parent volunteer, Shawn Bard, serve as co-chairs of the PTA’s Organic Garden and Grounds Committee. Last week, they met with Maloof and PTA Co-Presidents Lyn Brown and Brenda Ridl in Vanderlyn’s conference room to discuss how to use the most recent grant.
The group decided to use the funds, which will be issued within the next several weeks, to install more garden beds at the school, to offer an additional planting opportunity to teachers and to plant spring crops.
The new beds will be located by the kindergarten playground behind the main building. This location will be close to students in classrooms in the main building and make it easy for them to take advantage of Vanderlyn’s organic gardening program.
The plan, Wilkinson explained, is for first grade students to grow pumpkins to use in Vanderlyn’s Pumpkin Math activity, an annual Halloween event in which the children weigh pumpkins, count seeds and perform other math functions with these members of the squash family.
Teachers will also get a new planting opportunity through the new funds. Radish and lettuce plantings in March will be added to the April and September plantings already on the calendar.
The goal of the plantings is to teach the children where food comes from, how to grow it, and expose them to foods they may have never tried before, all with an emphasis on learning how eating healthy food relates to wellness and good health, Wilkinson said.
The spring planting will be held, as usual, during Earth Week in April. Crops that will be planted will include herbs, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and, possibly, peppers.
In other grant news, the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) has selected the Community Garden as one of the sites across the country that is eligible to be awarded a fruit tree orchard. The garden, which is located in Brook Run Park, was chosen based on a grant application that garden member Nicole Maslanka submitted to FTPF for the “Communities Take Root” program, a collaboration between the FTPF and Dreyer’s Fruit Bars.
Winning gardens will be chosen by a nationwide public vote. That vote will take place on the Communities Take Root website beginning April 16. There will be four rounds of voting through August and multiple gardens will be selected as winners.
One vote per person per day will be allowed throughout the entire voting period. This will be a great chance for the people of Dunwoody to support their Community Garden. Look for more details about the orchard and how to vote closer to the opening of the “polls.”