WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At a "ribbon-planting" ceremony today, Share Our Strength(r), the leading national organization working to end childhood hunger in America, Food Network and Comcast, were joined by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to create and unveil an edible "Good Food Garden" that will bring healthy, fresh and nutritious food to children from under-served communities in the nation's capital.



The self-contained garden was planted at The SEED School in southeast Washington, DC (4300 C Street SE) and will remain there permanently as a working garden for the school children who will integrate the garden into the 7th grade civics and life science curricula.



Agriculture Secretary Vilsack worked in the garden side-by-side with students from the school; Charles Adams, Head of School; parents and Food Network celebrity Aida Mollenkamp, star of "Ask Aida." Together they planted cabbages, squash, melons, beans, artichokes, cardoons and a variety of greens and learned how to care for this sustainable garden. Students received seed packets and pamphlets about fruits and vegetables, and a hands-on vegetable tasting was available to all involved.



Good Food Gardens is a charitable program created by Food Network, Share Our Strength and Teich Garden Systems to provide educational, sustainable gardens to schools and community centers in need. The aim of the program is to educate families on the importance of incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into their daily diets, and to inspire healthy eating habits for life.



The SEED School, a public school located in southeast, Washington DC, operates as a tuition-free boarding school, providing a high-performing, college-preparatory curriculum for students from underserved communities. Charles Adams, Head of School for SEED D.C. shared, "At SEED we are committed to the academic growth and social development of our students. What better way than a garden to not only viscerally demonstrate the beauty and miracle of growth but also enable our young people to become involved with the movement for good food, healthy lives and a sustainable planet."



"This Good Food Garden can change the attitudes and habits of SEED School students. By bringing students into the garden, we can strengthen their connections to food, increase their nutrition awareness, and foster healthy eating habits for a lifetime," said Bill Shore, Founder and Executive Director, Share Our Strength. "With more than 12 million children at risk of hunger in the U.S., we applaud the Food Network for its foresight and social entrepreneurship, and are pleased to partner with them in this important effort."



Secretary Vilsack stated, "The USDA is committed to making healthy food accessible to children in need, and to improving the dietary habits of today's youth. This garden stands as an example of what the USDA would like to see across the country. We believe children in underserved communities deserve a hands-on experience growing delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables."



"Food Network is proud to be a part of the national conversation to feed kids better, and to work with Share Our Strength to create opportunities for families to experience fresh, nutrient-rich foods as a part of their everyday lives," said Sarah Copeland, Food Network spokesperson for the Good Food Gardens. "There are few greater ways to empower a child than to give them the tools to feed themselves well so that they can lead healthy, vibrant lives."



Share Our Strength(R) is the leading national organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. We weave together a net of community groups, activists and food programs to catch children at risk of hunger and ensure they have nutritious food where they live, learn and play. We work with the culinary industry to create engaging, pioneering programs.



FOOD NETWORK is a unique lifestyle network and Web site that strives to be way more than cooking. The network is committed to exploring new and different ways to approach food -- through pop culture, competition, adventure, and travel -- while also expanding its repertoire of technique-based information. Food Network is distributed to more than 98 million U.S. households and averages more than 9 million unique Web site users monthly. Food Network programming is available internationally in more than 150 countries.



SOURCE: USDA.