Tops Markets LLC and Dole Packaged Foods LLC have rolled out the fifth annual Learning Garden contest that will give two elementary schools in either upstate New York, Vermont or northern Pennsylvania a Captain Planet Foundation Learning Garden. The contest runs from Jan. 5 through Feb. 28.
Tops customers can enter a school in the competition online. The two winning schools receive a comprehensive Learning Garden along with lesson kits packed with supplies, a schoolyard garden, a fully equipped garden cooking cart and strategies for summer garden maintenance.
The Learning Garden program provides opportunities for multidisciplinary learning, including nutrition, science, social studies, math and language arts. Students can expand their palates, sample healthy foods and learn where food comes from.
Last year’s winning schools were Hancock Elementary School in Hancock, New York, and Harris Hill Elementary School in Williamsville, New York. Other past winning elementary schools have included Boston Valley Elementary School in Hamburg, New York; New Creation Fellowship Academy in Cheektowaga, New York; Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York; Letchworth Elementary School in Gainesville, New York; Hillel Community Day School in Rochester, New York; and Penn Yan Elementary in Penn Yan, New York.
“Dole is very excited to be partnering with Tops Friendly Markets again to bring two lucky schools Learning Gardens,” said Marty Ordman, communications director of Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Packaged Foods, a subsidiary of Dole International Holdings. “It is so important for children to learn about where their food comes from and develop healthy eating habits at an early age.”
“So many subjects can be taught in the garden and hands-on garden learning is an excellent way to support student understanding of natural systems, food origins and healthy eating,” explained Leesa Carter, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Captain Planet Foundation, which was co-founded in 1991 by media mogul Ted Turner. “Captain Planet Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that kids are armed with an understanding of the natural world in which they live, and we are thrilled to be partnering again with Tops and Dole Packaged Foods to provide two lucky schools with [a] Project Learning Garden.”
“Tops Friendly Markets is excited to partner with Dole and the Captain Planet Foundation for a fifth year,” noted Tops SVP Diane Colgan. “We are committed to supporting educational excellence, and the hands-on garden and curriculum is an integral part of the conversation when teaching kids where their food comes from. We encourage every elementary school to consider entering for their chance at winning this great free resource.”
Williamsville, New York-based Tops operates 157 supermarkets, with five additional franchise stores, and employs 14,500 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. The company is No. 63 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.