02/25/2013 03:44 pm ET Updated Apr 27, 2013

Help Fund Urban Gardens for Healthier, Happier Kids

Mark Twain Middle School's Seed to Plate Program in Venice, Los Angeles is a model for school nutrition programs in the L.A. Unified School District and across the nation. The garden serves as not only a source of healthy food for the students, but also as a classroom. The children learn entrepreneurship by selling their produce at a local farmer's market; math by counting loaves of bread baked from the wheat harvest; and history by studying Aztec and Mayan agricultural techniques.

Mark Twain is a Title 1 school where 83 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced school meals. You can listen to the students here.

Kiran and I signed on to be "PACTivists" in order to help raise funds for this amazing program. It was selected to be one of 100 urban gardens participating in a national urban garden building campaign -- a partnership between Whole Kids Foundation, the non-profit arm of Whole Foods; PACT, an incredible organic, sustainable, fair trade clothing company; and Indiegogo, a crowdfunding website. Check out the video we made after a visit to the school!

As of today, in collaboration with the amazing volunteers who run the Seed to Plate Program, Kiran and I have raised $1,825 towards our $2,500 goal for the Mark Twain Middle School garden. We hope to exceed this goal, $10 at a time... or, of course, more!

These funds will help master gardeners Patty Kestin, Marianne Brown, Idalia Ramirez, Renee Meshul, and the other Seed to Plate volunteers and Mark Twain Middle School educators:

  • Increase school-wide healthy food tastings in the cafeteria
  • Expand nutrition education for the 750 students
  • Build more raised beds and tables for the outdoor classroom
  • Buy kitchen and garden tools and materials to cook, grow and harvest more fruit and vegetables
  • Replace the broken refrigerator
  • Expand the garden-based curricula now taught in conjunction with history, english, math science, and art

Please take a minute to visit the campaign website. You can also browse all the urban garden campaigns and learn more about one in your area by clicking here. Thank you!

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