Table grape growers in California’s San Joaquin and Coachella valleys want to help local teachers with classroom projects.
The California Table Grape Commission is offering teaching grants of up to $750 for creative projects in the areas of agriculture, math, science, state history, art and health.
The “Innovation in Teaching” program, which began in the 1990s, is a way for growers to give back to their communities, said Kathleen Nave, president of the Fresno-based commission.
“Education has always been something the commission has focused on in our communities,” Nave said. “We have a farmworker education program, and this has been an extension of that ... I think we know teachers spend money out of their own pockets to do extracurricular things or things that school districts can’t afford to do.”
The commission is taking applications from elementary, junior high and high school teachers in the state’s table grape growing regions through Oct. 11.
Previous projects that have won grants included weather forecasting, school-based gardens, a re-enactment of California history, robotics and after-school cooking classes, according to a commission news release. In the last school year, the program reached more than 5,000 students, the release stated.
The education program is part of a larger community outreach program that also includes table grape field worker and agricultural scholarships. The commission has also taken other steps to help area schools.
In the spring, for instance, the commission donated 27 salad bars to schools throughout the state as part of the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Program, which was aided by the California Department of Public Health.
Last year, the commission placed 28 salad bars in schools and developed grape health and usage information for teachers.
California Grape Commission: www.tablegrape.com