William Penn Letter of Inquiry

Organization Information Tax ID: 900627992 Chipping Hill Micro Farms Howard Brosius, Executive Director 170 Meadowbrook Drive Box 3 Compartment 10 Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 813-468-9558 www.chippinghillmicrofarms.org

Background Information
Chipping Hills Micro Farms' (CHMF) mission is to combat childhood obesity in urban settings by supporting and encouraging children to eat healthy while learning how sustainable agriculture relates to their communities and environment. Since 2009 CHMF has been installing Micro Farms and growing vegetables in partnership with schools, daycares, and community centers. We became a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and expanded our efforts to teach children throughout Philadelphia the connections between food, agricultural systems, and the natural world. Our programs teach children about growing food through direct interaction with the soil, herbs, flowers and vegetables. We pull and eat fresh greens directly from Micro Farms the children themselves have helped plant. At the heart of our lessons are innovative Micro Farms: cedar boxes equipped with light bulbs and controlled heating panels for year-round growing. They are miniature organic agricultural systems, and a proven method of teaching young kids how real food grows. They are true oases in Philadelphia's vast food deserts, fighting the threat of disease posed by the fast food and processed snacks available at every street corner. CHMF currently produces food and offers garden and nutrition curriculum at seven Philadelphia daycares and community organizations. Weekly tastings of salads and vegetables grown in our

Micro Farms occur at each of the sites to complement age appropriate lessons, which include gardening, agriculture, botany, and environmental studies. Sites city-wide have utilized CHMF's programs to great success. Due to consistent instruction (and delicious veggies), demand for our Micro Farms and hands-on nutrition education has grown. Parents report that their kids now ask for our "celery boats" and lettuce wraps at home.

Total Revenue and Support:
total revenues from all sources, according to your most recent audit or financial statement (Format: $xxx,xxx)

2011: $55,000 2012 to date: $47,500

Audit Year: date of your most recent audit or financial statement Under $100,000 revenue not audit needed.

Program Area: Children, Youth & Families: School Readiness

Fit Within Children, Youth & Families Priorities
Briefly describe how your project fits within the Foundation priorities for CYF

Our proposed project will impact day cares, preschools, and learning centers in low-income neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. In the neighborhoods we are targeting, many children receive their most significant meal of the day from convenience stores. This lack of nutrition leads not only to immediate fatigue, decreased attention spans, and depression, but diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic disease. The nutrition a child receives during the critical transition from birth, through early and mid childhood affects their ability to focus, learn, and grow. Our programs deliver plentiful nutrition in the form of fresh produce, and equip early childhood teachers, administrators, and guardians to continue preparing healthy meals and snacks. This increases early childhood success in all areas of growth and learning, and prevents children from entering elementary school with inhibited learning abilities.

We improve and strengthen early childhood nutrition education within existing daycares and preschools by offering hands-on gardening and harvesting experiences; integrating fresh vegetables into daily meal and snack time; and delivering nutrition education tools and training to early childhood teachers and administrators. We also improve nutrition in the home, sending recipes and newsletters to guardians, and inviting them to lessons and food demonstrations. Early childhood nutrition best practices become grounded in the community and perpetuated by its stakeholders. As we build a record of the results of our programs—their lasting impact on neighborhoods, and the documented success rates of our children who are now in kindergarten through 2nd grade— we will advocate for increased state and federal funding for farm-to-school initiatives in early childcare. The daycares and preschools we work with will have a proven ability to implement an innovative farm-to-school nutrition program, making them eligible for current and future competitive funding opportunities. In this way, we are affecting systems change from the ground up, increasing public investment in early childcare in the neighborhoods that need it most.

Project Description
Briefly describe your program work and its rationale (1-2 pages)

Direct experience with soil, gardens, and fresh produce has more affect on a child than abstract teaching about nutrition or the food pyramid. Children from all economic levels, and particularly those living in impoverished urban sectors of Philadelphia, have little understanding of where food comes from. Food has become disassociated from the natural and agricultural systems that produce it. To many children, the food we eat comes from the store and is just “always there”. To date, 92% of children we've reached come from homes living at or below poverty level incomes. Our proposed programs will continue to target these populations, spreading healthy eating habits and long-term disease prevention to low income families through their littlest members. OVERVIEW We propose to bring year-round Farm to School programming to sixteen (16) daycare classes in low-income neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia County. Each daycare will receive a dedicated on-site Micro Farm growing a minimum of twelve (12) greens, herbs, and vegetables nine (9) months out of the year. Each daycare will also receive twenty (20) 1.5 hour lessons

covering basic principals of botany, gardening, agriculture, and nutrition, including seed germination, soil formulation, garden companions, weeds, garden planning, watering, harvesting, and vegetable preparation. Lessons will culminate in a shared meal consisting solely of fresh produce, supplying an entire day’s serving of fruits and vegetables. The Micro Farms yield enough for daycares to continue supplementing lunches and daytime or afterschool snacks with nutritious vegetables between lessons. Daycare instructors and administrators will learn simple preparation techniques and easy recipes from CHMF educators. CURRICULUM Micro Farms are educational resources and form the basis of our seasonal curriculum. Each Micro Farm is heated with a 400-watt propagation panel embedded in the soil, allowing for yearround growing and teaching opportunities. At the onset of the program, children will assist in the building of their 4’ x 8’ (or larger) Micro Farm. They will then start a variety of herbs and vegetables indoors as they learn about seed germination. The nutrition lessons begin here with an easy-to-grasp message: Just as a healthy seed needs good soil, water, and sunlight to thrive, our bodies need plenty of whole, fresh vegetables. After tending their seedlings to maturity, children will transplant them to their Micro Farm. Children will watch the growth of the garden week by week, eat fresh picked veggies, and play in the soil. They will be given responsibilities, such as regular watering, weeding, and appropriate harvesting, instilling a sense of ownership and accomplishment as they watch their gardens flourish. Instructors will link diet to the seasons as children experience a staggered harvest and eat from a rotating plate of vegetables. This variety creates added interest and makes healthy eating more exciting than the repetition of their typical processed snacks and lunches. ANTICIPATED RESULTS Children will become more adventurous in eating fresh produce when it comes from their own garden. CHMF programs will impact children who are at high-risk for obesity, and other adverse health affects of poor nutrition, during their formative years. Children’s palettes are most receptive at the ages of three and four; they can be taught to try and enjoy vegetables without coercion, threats, or “force feeding.” They will taste swiss chard, spinach, arugula, radishes, carrots, beets, tomatoes, parsley, chives, cilantro, basil and more pulled directly from the gardens they have tended. As they develop a taste and excitement for fruits and veggies, they will impact their guardians and families with a demand for more fresh, healthy foods at home. A profusion of research in the last two decades indicates that direct, frequent experience with the

natural world produces positive physical, mental and emotional benefits in children and adults. Improved cognitive functioning includes enhanced ability to focus, observation skills, recall of information, creativity and the ability to reason. Reduced stress and self-esteem are also among the positive results when children are allowed unstructured time to explore the outdoors. Many specialists in child development now believe that regular contact with the natural world is essential to the emotional development of children. Compelled by this research, we encourage children to be curious, get dirty, start a nature journal, and use their “listen,” “smell,” and “watch” senses.

INNOVATION Most programs targeting nutrition in young children are removed from food systems and sources. Disassociating food from the land, farmer, and growing process has led to disastrous effects on our nation's health. Vitamins and nutrients are found in pills; we care about a tomato's price tag more than the soil or farming practices that produced it. CHMF reconnects the health of our bodies to the health of our food, land, and systems so children understand the difference between the organic, heirloom tomato grown nearby, and the pesticide riddled tomato that was picked while still green. The Micro Farm model invests in existing educational institutions, integrating teachers and administrators into our programs. Daycares become empowered to implement nutrition education and practices on their own using our concrete lesson plans and strategies. Our proposed project integrates health promotion and disease prevention programs into important existing community institutions. Daycares and preschools are generally neighborhoodcentric and intimately connected with the daily life of guardians, families, and communities. After the initial installation of the Micro Farms and first year program building, farming and nutrition lessons will be repeatable with each new class of children. Knowledge will grow up with an entire generation as nutrition education becomes an institutional fixture. This will impact the long-term planning and development of our targeted low-income communities. We will greatly increase the capacity of daycares to integrate health and well-being promotion and disease prevention into their activities. The Micro Farms offer an accessible, recurring, and easily adapted educational resource. Teachers and administrators will learn easy, transferable food preparation methods and recipes to improve the nutritional content of snacks and lunches indefinitely. We will also connect daycares with local farmers and fresh food vendors to ensure they have access to affordable supplementary food sources. We will supply daycares with all of our curriculum, training materials, garden planning resources, recipes, and nutrition information.

Families are the second institution impacted by our programs. Children bring home a taste and demand for vegetables. Parents report that their 3 and 4 year-olds are asking for “celery boats” and “lettuce wraps” at the dinner table. Daycare teachers pass recipes and knowledge on to guardians, increasing vegetable consumption in homes.

Other Sources of Support
List other funders and amount committed or other funders to be approached for support. Identify if funding is committed or anticipated.

To date we have received grants and support from the following: • American Beverage Association (Philadelphia division) • Awbury Arboretum • Caroline Alexander Buck foundation • Green Tree Community Health Foundation • Lenfest Foundation • LibertyMe Dance Center • McLean Contributorship • Patricia Kind Family Foundation We have no current committed or anticipated support.

Partnering Organizations
• Awbury Arboretum • North Light Community Center • Tree House Books • Green Tree School • Jubilee School • Liberty Me Dance Center • Wyck Historic House and Garden • and numerous day care centers and preschools.

Project Budget (estimated)
entire project budget, including amounts in addition to your request from the Foundation (Format: $xxx,xxx)


Requested Amount

Duration of Work
12 months

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