GrowingGreat Veggies & Fruits: A National STEM Education Program

GrowingGreat Veggies & Fruits was a two-year (2019-2021) initiative designed to expand opportunities for children to taste, touch and learn about fruits and vegetables through hands-on garden- and nutrition-related science learning activities.  A Non-Profit Organization based out of Southern California, GrowingGreat supports garden-based learning and led this national garden, science, and nutrition education program in partnership with eight science centers around the United States: The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Carnegie Science Center, Detroit Zoo, Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville, Marbles Kids Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Saint Louis Science Center. Due to the interruption posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, GrowingGreat and participating sites shifted their onsite programming plans to instead offer resources for parents and caregivers to facilitate learning activities for their elementary-aged youth at home.  The Institute for Learning Innovation evaluated this program. The 2019-2020 evaluation focused on supporting the nine partner organizations in shifting their programs to virtual, often asynchronous, and caregiver-led formats, allowing them to still meet their primary goal of increasing youth access and exposure to fruits and vegetables. The 2020-2021 evaluation worked with the sites to collect information from the caregiver-participants who were using the GrowingGreat resources to facilitate at-home activities with their K-5 youth. The evaluation effort was co-designed with the participating sites and collected information about the activity features caregivers prioritize when searching for hands-on activities to facilitate at home, caregivers’ level of confidence in facilitating different types of activities, challenges experienced, etc.  This information was provided to each partner site to inform their future programming.


Project Team: Elysa Corin Ph.D.