Growing vegetables, growing minds

Receiving a check of $10,000 from the Bayer Fund are Kim Dayhoff and Linda Carson, Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, USD 456 Supt. Joe Sample, and MdCV Elementary School Principal Twila Wollenberg; not pictured, Barb Roberts.

While young minds are growing every day at Marais des Cygnes Valley Elementary School, students will soon be growing their own vegetables, due to a grant from a major agriculture products company.

On Oct. 3, 2019, the school was presented a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund, formerly the Monsanto Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer. The grant, written by USD 456 faculty Kim Dayhoff, Linda Carson and Barb Roberts, will fund a project called “Growing Food for Growing Minds” that includes three vertical aeroponic growing towers. The tower gardens, with two at the elementary school and one at MdCV Junior-Senior High School, are designed to provide year-round gardening of vegetables for all students and staff to enjoy. A portion of the funds will be used to purchase Chromebooks for the elementary students, and for field trips for the students to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, was on hand to present the grant check to USD 456 Superintendent Joe Sample and MdCV Elementary Principal Twila Wollenberg.

Garret presented the grant on behalf of Bayer’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant program, which partners with farmers to nominate their local school district to apply for math and science grants. Many of the local farmers who nominated the school for the grant program were present for the grant award and were recognized at the ceremony. Listed as nominators were: David Combes, Jackie Patterson, Lisa Litch, Dave Burkdoll, Wesley Garard, Ruby Garard, Brandon Litch, Jarah Hauger, Marilyn Rose, Jeremy Lingenfelter, Clara Ebert, Raylen Phelon, Rex Arb, Joe Arb, Blake Jones, Jeff Casten, and Tim Patterson.

To qualify for a Grow Rural Education grant, farmers nominated a school or school district to compete for a merit-based grant of either $10,000 or $25,000. School districts that were nominated then submitted a grant application describing their STEM-focused project. Grow Rural Education’s Farmer Advisory Council, consisting of approximately 30 farmer leaders from across the country, reviewed the finalist applications and selected the winning school districts. Since Grow Rural Education began in 2011, it has awarded more than $18 million to more than 1,000 schools in rural communities across the United States.

Information and photo thanks to Linda Carson.

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