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Mayor Emanuel Announces $1 Million Investment in Learning Gardens Located at CPS Schools Through NATO Legacy Funds

New Investment Supports 60 School Learning Gardens at CPS Schools Across the City, Providing Students With Hands-On Nutrition and Science Education Opportunities

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–December 17, 2012. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced yesterday that $1 million in NATO legacy funds will support the development of learning gardens at 60 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) schools in communities across the city, providing students with hands-on nutrition and science education opportunities. Organized and implemented by the nonprofit organization The Kitchen [Community] (TKC), the gardens also bring together community organizations to support student learning. This investment is a continuation of the Mayor’s commitment to investing NATO legacy funds in neighborhood projects across the city.

“This investment will provide our students with hands-on education opportunities in science and nutrition that they otherwise would not have, and works to bring together community organizations in our neighborhoods to support the success of our students,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “The gardens will help students learn in an active and exciting way, a fitting and strategic investment of NATO Legacy funds.”

TKC’s Learning Gardens are an extension of the classroom and an enhancement to playgrounds and other environments. They infuse healthy habits and instruction into everyday learning. The Kitchen Community has installed six gardens in Chicago this past spring and eight additional gardens this fall. These early TKC projects were jump-started with partnerships in Chicago’s business and philanthropic community, including JPMorgan Chase. CPS schools will individually apply to TKC for installation of a learning garden, and TKC evaluates these applications based on capacity, intent to integrate the garden into the school’s academic curriculum and other factors.

“Chicago has really come together around the concept of Learning Gardens as a solution for outdoor garden-based learning,” said Chef and TKC co-founder Kimbal Musk. “Learning Gardens are easy, affordable and scalable, and we’re thrilled to be planting them here in Chicago.”

Learning Gardens have been installed at the following schools: Ruiz Elementary, Benito Juarez Community Academy High School, Jonathan Burr Elementary, Mildred I. Lavizzo Elementary, Carter G. Woodson South Elementary, Sir Miles Davis Magnet Elementary Academy, Dawes Elementary, Nathanael Greene Elementary, Carl von Linne Elementary, Southside Occupational, Paul Laurence Dunbar Career Academy High School, Neal F Simeon Career Academy High School, Oliver S. Westcott Elementary, and  Robert L. Grimes Elementary School. TKC has partnered with Chicago non-profits Openlands and Common Threads to work with schools and teachers to create innovative, school-by-school approaches to incorporate the gardens into student learning.

From the outset of the City’s planning for the NATO summit, Mayor Emanuel committed that Chicago taxpayers would not be responsible for any of the costs associated with hosting the NATO summit. Federal funds and private funds raised by the NATO host committee were used to pay for the costs associated with hosting the summit, and those costs came in under budget. The remaining private funds are being used where they are needed most – directly in Chicago’s communities, to the direct benefit of Chicago’s residents.

Earlier this month, Mayor Emanuel announced that $1 million in NATO legacy funds will be invested in a new initiative – Youth Working for Success – to provide 400 youth access to jobs, after-school programs and specialized mentoring services. In October, Mayor Emanuel announced that $6.5 million in NATO legacy and Chicago Park District capital funds would be invested in neighborhood and transformative park projects across the city.

About The Kitchen [Community] 
The Kitchen [Community] was established in 2011 as the philanthropic arm of a family of restaurants to connect kids to real food by creating Learning Gardens.

Source: cityofchicago.org

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