Mission and Background
GrowingGreat’s mission is to empower children to make healthy food choices through hands-on science and garden education. We believe every community should have access to fresh produce and all children should experience the joy of growing fruits and vegetables in their own garden. Our programs are multicultural with a focus on literacy and scientific inquiry. As a pioneer in school gardens in Los Angeles since 1999, GrowingGreat has reached hundreds of thousands of children and parents with hands-on nutrition, STEM, and garden education. We offer activities for preschool through high school, in Spanish and English, during and after school, and always with the opportunity to enjoy fresh, healthy foods. In 2018 our programs impacted 16,000 PreK-12th graders, 12,500 in greater Los Angeles and 3,500 through the national My First Garden network of science centers and children’s museum led by GrowingGreat. We offer our programs regardless of a school’s ability to pay; 65% in low-income communities.
All GrowingGreat activities are linked to national standards for science education. In just a few examples: our students learn how proteins, fats and carbohydrates affect them, experience the science of how foods change with cooking, and study drinks to measure and compare the amount of sugar they contain. School gardens and nutrition activities have popped up all over our country, but often without the support of educators who truly understand the experiential way that children learn. We teach science and nutrition concepts in a hands-on, impactful way. These activities have been implemented not only at GrowingGreat sites in Los Angeles, but by science center and children’s museum educators nationwide who also consult in curriculum development. We customize our program to each site where we teach, blending nutrition education and hands-on science with a strong focus on literacy and language learning. All programs includes hands-on activities and healthy snacks.
GrowingGreat strives for a world in which:
- All communities have access to fresh, minimally-processed foods.
- All parents are empowered to make healthy food choices for their families.
- Every school garden is an outdoor Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning Lab.
Purpose and Values
At GrowingGreat we believe that:
- Access to healthy food, fresh fruits and vegetables is a right for all children.
- Every community deserves hands-on experience with growing, living things.
- Long-term health education programs require long-term and committed partnerships.
- Impactful health education activities should be hands-on, research-based and integrated into core curriculum, fostering literacy and science skills.