Press Kit: Summary Sheet
This information is intended for journalists and others writing about Hudson Valley Seed. Further information about each of these topics can be found throughout our website.
Hudson Valley Seed educates children in school gardens, empowering students through curriculum-integrated lessons focused on healthy eating, food literacy, outdoor learning, and academic success.
Who we serve
During the 2017-2018 school year Hudson Valley Seed is educating over 4,000 students at 7 schools and 2 after school programs in Newburgh, Beacon, and Garrison:
Sargent Elementary School, Beacon, NY, 377 students
South Avenue Elementary School, Beacon, NY, 375 students
J. V. Forrestal Elementary School, Beacon, NY, 289 students
Glenham Elementary School, Beacon, NY, 473 students
Temple Hill Academy, Newburgh, NY, 961 students
Horizons on Hudson Magnet School, Newburgh, NY, 534 students
The Garrison Union Free School, Garrison, NY, 325 students
The Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh, Newburgh, NY, 87 students
Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Newburgh, NY, 88 students
What we do
Hudson Valley Seed educators integrate nutrition education and experiential learning into public school classrooms by bringing over sixty K-5 classes each week out to school gardens to read and write, learn math and science, taste new vegetables, and learn about health and wellness. We also run Vegetable of the Month school cafeteria programs; an after-school garden education program; and community education programs including summer camp lessons, farmer’s market education, and open garden time. We donate food grown in our school gardens to local pantries and soup kitchens; teach the teachers and share original curriculum resources; and help train the next generation of educators through our teen internship program.
Through hands-on learning, dynamic living classrooms, and engaged students and teachers, Hudson Valley Seed is raising the bar of academic achievement one school at a time. HVS lessons are fully integrated into New York State’s Common Core curriculum, with garden lessons contributing to classroom academics. Students excel when they can learn in a hands-on, outdoor setting, engaging their whole minds, drawing connections, and better retaining information. Each year we see children with different skills and learning styles not supported by traditional classrooms flourish in our gardens: Through HVS programs, students have weekly access year-round to the type of dynamic project-based learning environment favored by the top private schools in the country, resulting in an increased love of learning and improved academic success.
Hudson Valley Seed’s garden programs build the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating choices for students and families of all backgrounds. Since garden time is integrated with classroom curriculum, HVS’s program makes it possible for public schools to take time from their busy days to prioritize nutrition education. Children are empowered to try eating vegetables by growing and repeatedly interacting with them in a fun and encouraging environment, and have access to more healthy food through our cafeteria-integrated programs. Through taste tests, HVS has measured that students participating in HVS garden programs are 46% more likely to try and like new vegetables than their non-participating peers, and many parents share with us that their children request veggies for dinner after growing them in our gardens.
Why this is needed
Newburgh and Beacon are among the region’s highest-needs communities in the region. 26.3% of Newburgh residents and 20% of Beacon residents live in poverty.
The communities served by HVS programs face epidemics of obesity and food insecurity. Newburgh has an obesity rate of 28.1%, and 47% of Beacon’s children are obese, but the schools cannot offer nutrition classes. 100% of Newburgh public school students and 45% of Beacon public school students qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches, and many families of students rely on foodbanks to feed their families.
Our communities are also academically disadvantaged: Temple Hill Academy, one of our largest programs, is among the lowest-performing 5% of schools in NY. Only 27% of Newburgh students and 35% of Beacon students are proficient in reading and math. Their school districts face significant financial challenges: offering experiential learning is beyond the current capacity of the school’s dedicated yet overstretched teaching staff.
How we're growing
The teachers, schools, and families of the Hudson Valley are clamoring for more Hudson Valley Seed programs: we currently have more than 14,000 students on our waiting list.
The HVS program is designed to be scalable, with plans to eventually reach every K-5 classroom in the Hudson Valley. Through Hudson Valley Seed’s facilitation, together we can define Hudson Valley schools as a network of innovative and sustainable learning environments creating the healthy, academically-successful leaders of tomorrow.
Omari Washington, Executive Director (Interim)
firstname.lastname@example.org (845) 419-3871