Skip to main content

Hanley Sustainability Institute

‘Dayton Sprouts’ food literacy program wins $50,000 grant; co-authors from UD wrote application for city

By Mark Gokavi

A city of Dayton program to educate children about the importance of living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle recently won a $50,000 grant from the United States Conference of Mayors.

The grant for Dayton Sprouts, part of the Childhood Obesity Prevention/Environmental Health and Sustainability Awards, was written for the city by University of Dayton graduates Meg Maloney and Sarah Richard. It was one of nine grants awarded nationally by the mayors’ conference and the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA).

“The quality of public health and the environment in a city is essential to a vibrant community, so addressing these issues in a cohesive manner supports mayors’ efforts to deliver even greater impact for their citizens.” Katherine Lugar, president of the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America board of directors and president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said in a press release. “Congratulations to all of the winning mayors and cities, whose extraordinary programs are more than deserving of these grants.”

Maloney, who holds an environmental biology degree, is a biology graduate student and a graduate assistant at the Hanley Sustainability Institute who works for Dayton as a sustainability specialist.

Richard graduated in 2019 with a mechanical engineering degree and a sustainability minor and was a River Steward. She also is a ceramics studio owner and director of special projects for Clean Energy 4 All, a Dayton non-profit organization.

The food literacy program will be run this summer by the city’s recreation department. 

“Each week, we will have a different theme and activities that will go with that theme,” Maloney said. “At the beginning of camp, each child will receive a passport which is an activity booklet that will help guide them through the program throughout the summer.

“The passport booklet will also be available on a digital platform so that kids who are not at the summer camp program can still participate in the activities if they sign up through the recreation department.”

Richard said the program is intended to reach as many children and families as possible.

“While there are unique programming features for the kids attending summer camp at the city's recreation centers, anyone can participate through the online platform and passport,” Richard said. “We all know kids are restless during these hard times; we are excited to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles in a fun and, most importantly, an accessible way.” 

Maloney said each child who attends in person will receive a vegetable sprout to grow at home to help them understand how food is grown. There will be two local demonstration gardens set up at the recreation centers.

“In addition to the gardening aspect, we will also do cooking classes to showcase that eating healthy can be delicious!,” Maloney said. “The garden/growing food will be a focal point for the program, but our weekly themes will stem off of that focal point.”

Themes will include topics such as composting and recycling and a river walk activity is planned. The online option will provide families to follow along at home. 

Maloney said the program was created as a complement to the Food Equity Plan and as part of Dayton’s sustainability strategy to educate youth about sustainability. 

“Because Dayton is a food desert and many people within the region live under the poverty line, we were hoping this program could compliment current initiatives that many community partners are working on to combat the food crises in Dayton,” Maloney said. “We understand that most kids aren't able to buy their own food but we are hoping it will still inspire a healthy lifestyle and show families that food can be grown at home for a low price.”

For more sustainability news and information, visit HSI’s news blog, the Hanley Sustainability Institute website and the sustainability program website. To sign up for HSI’s Sustainability Spotlight newsletter, register here.

Previous Post

DRG Zoom event Jan. 21 will discuss Green New Deal, why Dayton Arcade is the ‘most transformative’ project in the U.S.

Dayton Regional Green invites interested parties to attend a Zoom Hot Topics and Coffee event from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The topics are “So. What is the Green New Deal?” and “Why Is the Dayton Arcade ‘The Most Transformative Project in America?’” Registration is free.

Read More
Next Post

Reusable takeout food container pilot program starts at UD’s Marycrest Hall

A pilot program offering reusable containers for takeout food from University of Dayton dining services has begun at Marycrest Hall. The containers - which can be returned unwashed and using the honor system - are one way UD students can take part in a zero waste initiative. 

“The typical reduce, reuse, recycle motto should be a hierarchy,” HSi graduate assistant Christopher Baldasare said. “Reducing is better than reusing, and reusing is better than recycling. Since the containers reduce the need to produce more recyclable containers, they are more sustainable. Recyclable containers still have to be constantly made and recycled. The reusable containers do not need to be constantly made or constantly recycled.”

Read More