HARLEYSVILLE PA – Teachers, administrators or volunteers in public or private education across the Perkiomen Valley school district, who are interested in starting a school garden, revitalizing an existing garden, or expanding a garden program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, have nine days left to enter a Tractor Supply Company contest intended specifically to help them.
Tractor Supply, which calls itself “the nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer,” operates a store in Harleysville. Schools that are within 35 miles of a store are eligible to apply for the program that would “provide schools with an enriched, hands-on curriculum that would reinforce responsibility and teamwork, while deepening students’ understanding of where food comes from,” according to the company.
The deadline to enter is Oct. 15 (2016; Saturday). Online applications can be found here. Schools that are accepted into the program would receive its materials in advance of a February 2017 launch date.
Tractor Supply representative Jessica Holmes, who created what is known as the “Dig It” program, said the company’s investment in it “is an extension of our passion and commitment to educating future generations about the importance of agriculture. Schools are the center of our communities and if we can offer a method of teaching that gets kids excited about learning, we’re not only setting our teachers up for success but our students, too.”
The program had its start last spring with 88 total schools in Tennessee and in New York, each of which won a $500 grant for their gardening efforts. National Agriculture in the Classroom, an organization which promotes agricultural literacy, was a partner with the company, and upon completion of the program each of the 17,000 students involved received a kid-friendly garden tool set and a Master Gardener Certificate. This year Dig It is being expanded to Pennsylvania, California and Utah as well.
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