Northampton non-profit receives state award by teaching kids about healthy food

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) –  Grow Food Northampton, a local nonprofit, received an award with 22 other organizations for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education on Friday.

The state award program publicly recognizes formal and informal educators who have been nominated by a community member. The award is described as an opportunity for state and local partners to highlight the importance and benefits of integrating environmental science programs into the school curriculum.

“Fostering a learning environment that not only engages today’s youth, but also prepares them to address the issues impacting the world, such as climate change, is a critical priority for our Administration. . .We commend these educators for their tireless work and are proud to support them as they continue in their efforts to teach environmental and energy issues.”

 Governor Charlie Baker

Of those awarded, 14 were public schools, 2 were private schools, and 6 were non-profits like Grow Food Northampton.

Massachusetts public and private schools were eligible to receive award funding while non-profits were not. Nominated schools competed for $5,000 in awards to use towards the continuation of environmental education material in the curriculum. Non-profits were eligible to only receive a Secretary’s Citation to acknowledge and celebrate their contributions in environmental science education. Schools received between $250 – $350 in financial awards.

“Energy and environmental issues can be complex areas of study, but thoughtful and passionate educators can make these issues really engaging for our students and help inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. . .By getting students interested in the environment and energy sectors now, we are building tomorrow’s leaders and better preparing them to tackle the critical environmental challenges facing our state.”

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides

Funding for the financial portion of the awards came form the sale of whale tail license plates.

Grow Food Northampton received the award for their “Grow Food Kids” program for grades K – 3. The program offers both hands-on and classroom instruction on food education including eating healthy and proper techniques for growing crops.