News & Events


Health Foundation of South Florida awards The Education Fund $60,000 to integrate garden produce in school lunches


MIAMI LAKES, Fla. (Jan. 30, 2015) – Health Foundation of South Florida has awarded a $60,000 grant to The Education Fund to train school cafeteria managers to create healthy meals using produce from school gardens and for teachers to hold “Cafeteria Teach-Ins” demonstrating healthy table and eating practices.

The Education Fund’s project is part of its Edible Garden Collaborative Nutrition Initiative (CNI). This new component launches in January in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Department of Food and Nutrition. The partnership showcases the district’s new wellness policy aimed at using school garden produce in meals served to students.

“Our goal is to have 100 percent of the cafeterias in our CNI program serving their school garden produce regularly, with students promoting garden produce through signage in the cafeteria and along the food line,” says Linda Lecht, president of The Education Fund. “With this project, we will bring edible garden lessons into the place where children eat every day – the cafeteria.”

By introducing garden produce in cafeteria meals and teaching healthy eating practices, The Education Fund will complete a seed-to-table model that can be adopted at all schools in the district. Currently, CNI trains teachers in 51 public elementary schools in Miami-Dade County to assist students in planting, maintaining, and harvesting these organic edible gardens. Teachers use the gardens as teaching labs for all subject areas.

The Education Fund’s edible garden program has improved students’ eating habits by 50 percent each year since its launch in 2007. It was rated the most promising obesity prevention program in Florida (FLICHQ, 2010) and earned the prestigious Sapphire Award in 2009 from The Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida.

About Health Foundation of South Florida
Health Foundation of South Florida, a nonprofit grant-making organization, is dedicated to improving health in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. By advancing health solutions, the Foundation makes a measurable and sustainable impact in ensuring access to affordable, quality health services for all residents. Since 1993, the Foundation awarded more than $108 million in grants and program support. For more information, please call 305.374.7200 or see their website,

About The Education Fund
The Education Fund brings innovative methods to our schools, while informing the community about public education and seeking private sector investment in public education. For its success, The Education Fund has won the Greater Miami Chamber’s NOVO Award, among others. Prior programs helped bring technology reform to the district and prepared select candidates for leadership positions at schools. All told, we have leveraged more than $41 million to improve education for public school students and teachers in Miami-Dade. For more information, visit

About M-DCPS’ Department of Food & Nutrition
The M-DCPS Department of Food and Nutrition’s mission is to support student achievement by providing high-quality nutrition programs for students. The Department serves more than 15 million breakfasts and 35 million lunches to students annually, managing a budget of $189 million. The Department is committed to creating a healthy environment for all students and staff to perform at their highest physical, intellectual, and creative level in M-DCPS. For additional information, visit