Thursday, August 29, 2013

Healthy Growing | Indiegogo

Healthy Growing | Indiegogo

Once upon a time there lived a Chief Grower...

My name is Bryan Jersky and I am the CEO of Healthy Planet US - my goal is to help create a new generation of conscious eaters. This is our story.
After obtaining my MSW in Nonprofit Management and running programs for military fathers, two very important events occurred:
  1. The obesity epidemic hit mainstream America
  2. I started to cook, often
The more I cooked, the more I learned about what I was eating. During this process of discovery, I realized how scary our food system was becoming -- obesity, processed foods, farm subsidies, genetically modified foods. I knew right away that something needed to be done, that we needed to reverse the statistic that says 1/3 of children are obese and developing diabetes in the U.S.
I became involved in food policy in San Diego and shortly after, my wife and I moved to London. I worked there at city farms and food advocacy organizations such as Slow Food. I was hired at Healthy Planet, a conservation-focused social enterprise, as Head of Operations. It was the best of both worlds -- it ran like a business, but with the warmth of a nonprofit.
Shortly before my wife and I decided to move home to the U.S., Healthy Planet asked if I wanted to start a spin off company in California, as the Chief Grower and CEO. I knew this was the opportunity I had been after - combining my knowledge from the social enterprise with my experience on the farms. I graciously accepted on one main condition - that our U.S. focus would be solely on improving the food system.  Healthy Planet US was born on May 1, 2012, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of conscious eaters.

When kids grow vegetables they eat vegetables - it's that simple.

Our goal is a garden program in every school in America.

Our aim is to inform the next generation of conscious eaters. To do that, we need to help kids understand not only what they're eating, but where their food comes from and how it's made. This helps give them the understanding to make healthy decisions for life.

What we need and what you get

After successfully piloting our program in two schools in California, then recruiting seven more schools, a rare opportunity presented itself.  A local foundation (who chooses to remain anonymous) pledged to match, dollar for dollar, any funding we raised up to $100,000 by September 30, 2013. The timing is perfect, since we know our model works and we're ready to scale. This funding is going to (1) help fund those seven schools and (2) help us scale to begin to develop school gardens programs in every school across America.
We've already received funding and support from big companies like Whole Foods and Webcor, and smaller local businesses such as RSI, Dynamic Sport and Social and the Studio Climbing.
Whatever you donate during this campaign will automatically double! If you donate $25 that turns into $50.  If you donate $250 that turns into $500! Plus, we have tons of great perks to thank you for supporting us.

The impact

We teach children about the impact food has on their personal health and the health of the planet, while also cultivating their entrepreneurial skills.
With Healthy Growing, kids don't just hear about growing vegetables, cooking food, and designing a business - they do it!

The program

Healthy Growing is our customized school garden program rooted in hands-on nutrition education and entrepreneurship. It's designed around the strengths of each school, where Healthy Planet US helps develop both the school garden and the garden program. This includes:
  • A curriculum of 9-lesson plans that correlate with the garden
  • An entrepreneurial project the students plan and implement
  • A relationship with the local community
  • A long term sustainability plan

The lesson plans

Our compatible, flexible, and ready-to-go lesson plans, developed by an award-winning 6th grade science teacher, are aligned with the Teaching Standards and gives students the opportunity to learn about a range of topics, including:
  • Science in terms of plant biology, soil, composting, and more
  • History related to ancient farming and agriculture
  • Social Studies in regards to food origin and culture
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Math, creative thinking, and communication skills as the students develop and implement an entrepreneurial idea through the real world perspective of a business
    • For example some of our 2nd graders raised $100 in a 20-minute recess selling fruit salad cups, that they prepped, promoted, priced, and sold!

School gardens aren't new, but our concept is

Bringing a new twist to the school gardens concept, the Healthy Planet US model is based not only on improving food awareness and academic outcomes, but also youth development and entrepreneurship.
By pairing schools with businesses, School Champions are born -- funding the gardens, modeling social responsibility and sharing business practices with the students, which helps them plan their own Enterprise Project in the local community -- inspiring our nation's children to play a transformative role in changing today's food system, literally from the ground up.

The result?

  • A schoolyard resource
  • A creative, business-minded Enterprise Project, planned and implemented in the community by the students
  • A new generation of conscious eaters

Other ways you can help

We’d love to have your support and help. We are a small company with big goals. Please share information from this campaign on your social media outlets and let people know that you’ve helped us to help a new generation of conscious eaters #GrowWithUs.


Q. Who is the foundation that’s providing the matched funding?
A. It’s a generous foundation based in the South Bay, California that has requested to remain anonymous. They generally invest in a different category of organizations, however, they fell in love with the work we're doing with schools and wanted to help us out in this one-time opportunity.

Q. Where are your current Healthy Growing school garden programs located?
A. We have Healthy Growing school garden programs across the Bay area -- in San Francisco, San Mateo, Foster City, San Jose, Union City, and Sunnyvale.

Q. How many current Healthy Growing school garden programs do you have?
A. We currently have 10 Healthy Growing school garden programs.

Q. What grades are Healthy Growing suited for?
A. Kindergarten - 8th grade

Q. I’m interested in a garden at my school. When can you help?  
A. We'd love to help! Our goal is to develop a school garden program in every school in the US, but we need to ensure each school gets the attention it deserves.  So we’ll be growing and helping schools based on our capacity and the resources in each region.  This campaign will enable us to start that growth.  If you’re interested in a garden at your school, please fill out our Healthy Growing registration form to get the process started.

Q. How much does a school garden program cost?
A. It depends on many factors, including size, landscape, current resources, etc. but the average cost is about $5,000.

Q. How are you funded? How do you choose the schools you work with? What makes you different compared to other school gardens?
A. We’ll answer these three questions with one big answer since our funding model makes us unique and enables us to work with any school in need. We are distinctive in a number of ways.
First, many school garden programs invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into just a few schools and while that’s fantastic for those select schools, the strategy neglects thousands of other schools and even more children. The cost to plan and implement a school garden is fairly low, so the efficiency of the Healthy Growing model is designed to help as many schools as possible, partnering with businesses in every local community.
Second, many school garden programs only help public schools. There is a myth in our society that children in private schools come from wealthy families, and more importantly, that children from wealthy families are already conscious eaters.  However, depending upon the quality of public schools in certain areas, many private school children come from working-class families, and need just as much education about the food system as their public school counterparts. Obesity and food issues have no class boundaries -- millions of kids in private schools suffer from nutrition issues, but they often fall through the gaps, compared to those in public schools that often receive government grants.
Our funding comes from linking local businesses to schools, which enables Healthy Planet US to work with ANY SCHOOL IN NEED.
Third, Healthy Growing is a FULL school garden program. We help develop and build the garden, provide lesson plans, train teachers, provide funding and provide a long-term plan that ingrains the garden into the school culture for years to come.

Q. What are you goals?
A. Our goals are:
  1. To create a healthy planet by inspiring individuals, families, communities, and businesses to think about their food choices
  2. To inspire a new generation of conscious eaters
  3. To develop a school garden program in every school in America

Q. What happens if you don't reach your crowd-funding goal?
A. While we would be very dissapointed, we're still able to keep anything that you contribute, even if we don't reach our goal.  And any amout goes towards our matched-funding, so go click that 'Contribute Now" button!  Thanks so much!

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