Through a generous grant from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Greater Richmond Fit4Kids is partnering with five local elementary schools in Chesterfield and Henrico Counties and the City of Richmond and two community organizations to install learning gardens.

Fit4Kids and its partner Backyard Farmer will be on-site at Evergreen Elementary school working with students to plant fall crops in five raised beds that were previously installed at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. In addition to the garden at Evergreen Elementary school, school gardens will be installed at Lakeside Elementary in Henrico County, Woodville Elementary in Richmond, and Elizabeth Scott and Bellwood Elementary schools in Chesterfield County. Two community organizations, St. Joseph’s Villa and the Boys and Girls Club West End Teens Center Club in Richmond, will also receive learning gardens this fall.

Anthem is pleased to support Fit4Kids by helping fund the Learning Gardens,” said Jay Schukman, M.D., Chief Medical Director, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just activity and exercise, healthy eating is also a major component. By exposing children to ways to adopt healthy items into their diets, we can help them make lifestyle choices that last a lifetime.”

On an ongoing basis, these gardens will be coupled with a nutrition education program to engage students in garden maintenance, plantings, nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, and tastings. Edible Education, a Fit4Kids partner, will provide cooking classes on site at the schools and the Boys and Girls Club.

The goal of the learning garden program is to teach students to grow, prepare, and eat nourishing, delicious, and sustainably grown food and to empower students to make healthy food choices. “We are truly excited about the opportunity to expand our learning garden program and impact the health of children in the Richmond region,” said Mary Dunne Stewart, Executive Director of Greater Richmond Fit4Kids. “We are grateful for the generous support that the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has given to this project and its ongoing commitment to children’s health and wellness.”

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation promotes Anthem’s commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves.