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A follow-up outreach session at each Head Start classroom serves as way to reemphasize the concepts introduced during the field trip to De Vries.

Each classroom’s transportation costs for the field trips are provided by De Vries through the Allen Foundation grant.

Our approach demonstrates that many of the tools necessary to address food insecurity, such as food assistance programs, are already in place.

What is missing is the human connection that leverages the public investment in these programs through education and by introducing new pathways to access.

A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study of the Effect of Lutein/Zeaxanthin Supplementation on Macular Pigment Optical Density (MPOD) and Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE)/Photoreceptor Layer Architecture in Normals Through the generous financial support of the Allen Foundation, De Vries Nature Conservancy launched its Healthy & Local Food Initiative in 2014.

The goal of this effort is to strengthen the critical foundations necessary to enhance the availability of nutritious, locally grown food to low income families through improvements in education and access.

Nutrition Education In addition to allowing us to extend our growing season into the winter months, the hoophouse also serves as the perfect classroom for the educational component of the Initiative.

The nutrition education program is designed to offer children engaging, healthy food experiences and meaningful exposure to nutrition concepts, while concurrently educating parents in local food sourcing, preparation, and basic nutritional guidelines that promote lifelong healthy diets.

Early childhood is the most influential time in promoting healthy eating habits.

Between twenty-six and thirty-one Head Start classrooms (around 450 preschool-aged children) and their parents spend several hours at De Vries each fall for a field trip experience that includes a trip to the hoophouse for lettuce tasting, nutrition-related activities, and a nature hike.

Financial Summary In addition to the funding received by the Allen Foundation, other financial contributors to the project include the Gerstacker Foundation, Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network, the Shiawassee Community Foundations’s Youth Advisory Council, and a number of smaller gifts from community organizations and private individuals.

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