VIVA! Garden, a line of herb and vegetables available exclusively at The Home Depot, has introduced a new program developed to encourage gardening in schools. According to VIVA!, the Garden for Schools program was developed from a strong belief that "education and exposure to plants can create excitement and comfort in the world of gardening for people and children. Hobbies and lifelong pursuits are often stimulated by great childhood experiences."
In this program, herb and vegetable plants are donated to participating schools with the intent to excite and introduce children to gardening; expose children, their families and teachers to horticulture; encourage gardening as a way of life; promote better nutrition and exercise; and provide children with the great experiences that happen when they interact with nature.
Growers from across the country who grow the VIVA! line are donating to schools. In 2003, the program’s first year, 2,276 classrooms participated in the VIVA! Garden for Schools program, receiving donations of 72,832 VIVA! herb and vegetable plants. Today, VIVA! Garden for Schools supplies schools with a gardening package that includes an assortment of VIVA! herbs and vegetables — enough to plant 35 square feet of garden space — and a Garden Guide with planting and cultural tips to help teachers and students nurture the plants through a productive season.
Two additional sponsors have been added for the program: VIGORO and Supersoil. VIGORO is participating in the nationwide VIVA! Garden for Schools contest, which provides grants to six winners. The contest was designed to recognize classrooms that are active in school gardening and that have brought excitement about gardening to children. Awards will be given for most creative garden design, best garden plan and best use of space. VIGORO will also be supplying many classrooms with plants and fertilizer, while Supersoil will be donating Supersoil Premium Potting Soil to get their garden started.
For more information, visit VIVA! at www.vivagarden.com .