Did You Know? 5 Facts from GrowingGreat

July 27, 2012

Get Healthy with GrowingGreat!GrowingGreat‘s mission is to inspire children and adults to adopt healthy eating habits through innovative classroom nutrition lessons, school gardens and community events. The organization has been an LASVP investee since 2010.


1.   65% of the schools GrowingGreat serves are Title 1 Schools, which means that at least 40% of the school’s students come from low-income families.

2.   Studies show that every dollar spent on nutrition education saves $4-$8 in health care costs.

3.   When kids grow their vegetables, they eat their vegetables.  A 2011 study found that students who participated in garden-based learning significantly increased their preference for vegetables.

4.   To help accommodate schools that don’t have the extra space for a traditional garden, GrowingGreat partnered with Wooly Pockets to create curriculum that is adjusted to a vertical hanging wall garden.

5.   GrowingGreat reaches out to educate parents as well as children.  After each lesson, students receive a parent education handout to take home and share with their family that contains a lesson outline, enrichment activities, recipes and coupons.

Click here to find out the different ways you can help GrowingGreat!


More Vegetables, Please: Helping GrowingGreat Grow

May 4, 2012

Like most nonprofit Executive Directors, Sarah Gelb always has something to keep her busy.  “It’s always a challenge to get done what you need to get done in a day, and to get the funding and support we need to put on our programs and continue to grow,” she says.  The stress that must come along with the job doesn’t seem to have worn down her enthusiasm, though—maybe that’s one benefit of the healthy lifestyle that GrowingGreat advocates.

Sarah has been at the helm of GrowingGreat, an LASVP Investee focused on bringing nutrition education to kids in public schools, since 2009, and was a long-time supporter before then.  An athlete with a background in education, GrowingGreat unites Sarah’s passions.  “GrowingGreat gives [students] the tools to live longer and live happier, and will be the foundation that makes them successful, healthy adults.”

GrowingGreat clearly has an impact on the kids they reach.  According to Sarah, one third-grader told his mom that he wouldn’t go to bed until she bought the healthy cereal he had sampled in a GrowingGreat lesson that day.  Other young food activists are less extreme in their methods, but just as fired-up about having healthy choices—at one elementary school, students asked the administration to provide more Swiss chard in the cafeteria.  Kids demanding more vegetables?  GrowingGreat is clearly doing something right. And thanks to Sarah, the rest of the team at GrowingGreat, and the help they’ve received from LASVP Partners, the organization is expanding to reach even more students.

“We’re so fortunate to have LASVP as part of our team.  They have definitely helped us create the systems and the foundations that have allowed us to grow as effectively as we have the last three years.”  One project that LASVP Partners lent a hand to was creating a web model that will allow GrowingGreat to share its program online and spread quality nutrition education far beyond LA County.   “To build this online model has been one of my biggest accomplishments,” says Sarah, “because now the organization is in a position to scale and bring this really incredible curriculum and training to anyone who wants it.”

Sarah is definitely leaving a great legacy of accomplishments behind her.  While GrowingGreat will be sad to see her go, she has helped build a foundation for future success that the organization will continue to build on.  “It’s been exciting for me to be part of the growth and change as the organization moves forward,” says Sarah, “and LASVP has been a really huge asset in helping us do that.”

If you want to do something for GrowingGreat, you can:

Volunteer your time with LASVP.  Contact Sarah at sarah.hill@lasvp.org to find out  more about current GrowingGreat projects.

Become a GrowingGreat board member.  Contact Kristy at kristy@growinggreat.org to learn more.

Bring GrowingGreat to your child’s school.  Click here to learn how.

Growing a Great Garden at Synergy Charter Academy

April 26, 2012

This month two of our Investees connected for a project that is reaching kids in one of the city’s highest-need areas, South LA. GrowingGreat built a brand-new school garden at the Synergy Charter Academy campus, which is shared with the students from Quincy Jones Elementary. In partnership with Enrich LA, parents, kids, and community volunteers helped build raised garden beds where students will plant and tend a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs as part of their classroom curriculum.

On building day, GrowingGreat staff gave Synergy students and their families a hands-on lesson about healthy eating habits by serving nutritious foods. Throughout the year, the garden will serve as a learning tool to help students understand where food comes from and the purpose it serves in overall health and well-being.

Nutrition education is a crucial service in South LA, where the number one cause of death is coronary heart disease. The area is considered one of America’s “food deserts,” where there is limited access to fresh, healthy foods. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention found that in South and East LA, there is one grocery store for every 6,000 residents, compared to one for every 3,800 residents in West LA. Stores in lower income areas offer fewer healthy choices, like low-fat snacks and lean meats. The GrowingGreat garden at Synergy Charter Academy will not only serve as a great learning tool, but an important new source of local healthy foods.

You can learn more about our Investees Synergy Academies and GrowingGreat on our website.  More photos from the garden construction day can be found on GrowingGreat’s Facebook page