In a nationwide competition, The Reevesland Learning Center (RLC) has been awarded a grant by the Texas-based Whole Kids Foundation in support of the RLC’s unique, volunteer-led program of educating kids and adults about growing food, knowledge and community.
“We are thrilled with the timely, national recognition of our exciting educational work with Ashlawn Elementary students, teachers and neighbors,” said Sandra Kalscheur, chair of the RLC board of directors, and Mary Ann Penning, RLC vice chair, in a joint statement. “This year we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of LAWNS 2 LETTUCE 4 LUNCH, the community engagement component that led to the formation of the Reevesland Learning Center. So the timing is perfect.”
After Joan Horwitt, RLC president, helped launch LAWNS 2 LETTUCE 4 LUNCH in 2010, neighbors suggested that the community-school partnership should expand to the Reevesland property where Nelson Reeves, Arlington’s last dairy farmer, had maintained an iconic vegetable garden for more than 50 years. After his death in 2000 and the sale of Reevesland to Arlington County, his garden disappeared. But with Horwitt’s leadership and the help of scores of other volunteers, a new Reevesland Learning Garden was established where thousands of Ashlawn students and teachers, as well as other APS students, have grown organic crops while working on curriculum-based lessons in science, math, history and language arts.
The RLC grant from the Whole Kids Foundation, a nonprofit supported by the Whole Foods Market, is for the maximum amount, $3,000. Similar grants are being awarded nationwide to more than 500 schools and education-based gardening organizations. The Reevesland Learning Center will use the grant to build new raised beds for a “Souper Garden” and to accommodate the growing student population, install a new, environmentally efficient water distribution system, and other infrastructure improvements.
“We’re excited to get started on the new project,” Kalscheur said. “And this spring we will have another milestone to commemorate at our Fiesta Salad celebration for more than 800 Ashlawn students, teachers and neighbors while sharing a portion of our Reevesland organic crop with the Arlington Food Assistance Center.”