Welch’s grape juice brand has partnered with Scholastic Parent & Child magazine in a Harvest Grants program to help 100 schools nationwide grow fruit and vegetable gardens. Their bounty will be the source of nutritious meals cooked at home or in school or donated to local food pantries.
From now through Feb. 6 2010 teachers of grades K-8 can apply to win one of the harvest grants. Entries will be judged by experts at the National Gardening Association who will select two schools in each state. Five schools will receive $1 000 packages; 25 schools will receive $500 packages; and 70 schools will receive $250 packages. Each package will be filled with tools seeds and educational materials for a hands-on experience to help students connect with nature and better understand the origins of their food supply.
“We want to make sure that we are going to schools that incorporate everything you can learn from a math science and social studies standpoint into their curriculum through growing vegetables and fruits on their school yards ” Daniel Peirce marketing director-consumer connections at Welch’s told Buzz. “This is one way we could get into the schools and teach kids the benefits of knowing where their food comes from.”
The garden program also is a platform for Welch’s to tell its brand story in an experiential way and highlight the 1 150 family farmers who grow the Concord and Niagara grapes used in its juices and other grape-based products. “When you walk up and down the street almost everyone knows Welch’s ” Peirce said. “But they don’t know what we are about. For many years we weren’t telling this part of our story that we are family farmer-owned by real people who care about where food comes from and are enthusiastic about health and nutrition. So this effort is less about awareness than about telling the whole story of Welch’s.”
Welch’s is careful about not over-branding the experience. Application forms and classroom materials will bear its logo however no signs will appear in the gardens. “There are other ways to generate awareness ” Peirce said.