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Drury, Urban Agriculture Coalition receive $300K grant

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The Missouri Foundation for Health has awarded Drury University and the Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition a three-year $300,000 grant to fund a gardening project throughout the Springfield R-XII school district.

The project, known as the Dig In R-Twelve Project, will plan and install nine school gardens in the district and, in collaboration with the Drury School of Education, will provide and teach curriculum to use the gardens to complement the classrooms as learning tools. The grant also provides funding to establish infrastructure for an urban farm in a low-income neighborhood, according to a Drury news release.

The DIRT Project originated with the Springfield Urban Agriculture Coalition, an organization that promotes healthy lifestyles and environments.

"Giving students the opportunity to help create, maintain, and harvest gardens at their school sites is an educational application of content from many areas of the curriculum,” Ann Wallenmeyer, Springfield Public Schools K-12 science facilitator, said in the release. “Lessons will be learned that will reach far into a student’s future, well beyond public education."

In addition to installation of gardens and education, the DIRT Project aims to address obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles through the use of sustainably produced, locally grown food.

Midtown School Garden currently serves as Springfield's pilot school garden for students from Boyd Elementary and Pipkin Middle School. It is located on Cox North property at Division St. and Benton Ave. and was funded through a $10,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, according to the release.

CoxHealth and Community Partnership's Caring Communities Initiative provided land and resources for Midtown School Garden. The newest MFH grant will provide the pilot garden with a high-tunnel greenhouse.

Applications have been sent to all schools in the R-XII district. The additional nine schools to receive DIRT Project funding will be announced by the end of January. Garden planning and installation will begin in February, the release said.[[In-content Ad]]

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