Funds will aid in construction of new greenhouse project to advance edible education, sustainability and help address food insecurity.
Bakersfield, Calif. (July 5, 2022) – The Grimm Family Education Foundation today announced a $100,000 grant from Bank of America. The gift, made through the Kern Community Foundation as part of Bank of America’s 100th anniversary celebration, will be used to fund construction of a new greenhouse at the Edible Schoolyard Kern County’s (ESYKC) Buena Vista location in southwest Bakersfield.
The new, larger greenhouse will provide additional space for students to explore and experience plant lifecycles and support ESYKC’s community outreach programs.
The new, nearly 1,000 sq. ft. greenhouse will replace an existing 160 sq. ft. greenhouse built in 2011. It will include 480 interior sq. ft. and an additional 480 sq. ft. of covered outdoor space with tables and space for planting and education programs, tripling ESYKC’s capacity for year-round indoor seedling germination.
“Upgrading our greenhouse has been one of our team’s major goals for some time,” said Dylan Wilson, ESYKC Program Director. “We’re excited to have the support of Bank of America to partner with us as we increase our educational space and contribute to food security, health and wellness in Greater Bakersfield.”
The greenhouse will incorporate a 250-gallon rainwater catchment system for irrigation use in the greenhouse and ESYKC’s garden. Automated, precision irrigation will help reduce water use, and solar panels on campus will help provide for the facility’s climate control, irrigation and lighting power needs.
“Growing seedlings in-house reduces our reliance on outside vendors and allows our team to manage all aspects of the growing cycle, ensuring a focus on sustainability and education.” added Wilson.
Addressing food insecurity, a critical issue facing Kern County residents
Kern County is recognized as being one of the nation’s most food insecure regions, despite the bounty of the region’s agricultural industry. In 2020, ESYKC broadened its efforts to include addressing food insecurity through partnerships with community gardens. Seedlings cultivated at the ESYKC greenhouse will be used to grow food at gardens run by ESYKC’s network of community partners, which include the Apple Core Project, Boys and Girls Clubs of Kern County, CSU Bakersfield, Bakersfield College and CityServe. Each partner distributes the produce from their gardens as part of local food security programs.
“Investing into nonprofits addressing key issues such as food insecurity is part of our approach to driving economic opportunity and social progress in Bakersfield,” said Karen Zuber, President, Bank of America Bakersfield. “ESYKC is making strides to provide a sustainable food source for our communities, and as part of the bank’s 100th year anniversary celebration, we are excited to be part of this impactful program that can be sustainable for years to come.”
“Our mission is to grow community and grow philanthropy,” said Aaron Falk, President and CEO of the Kern Community Foundation. “We’re thrilled to play a role linking corporate citizens like Bank of America with organizations like ESYKC, who are working to make our community a healthier and more prosperous place to live, work and raise a family. Facilitating this gift and project is at the heart of what we do.”
Demolition of the existing greenhouse is underway. Construction on the new greenhouse is anticipated to begin shortly and is expected to be completed by January 2023.
About the Grimm Family Education Foundation and Edible Schoolyard Kern County
The Grimm Family Education Foundation is a local nonprofit organization that develops and supports initiatives to improve student achievement, healthy eating and wellness in Kern County. The Edible Schoolyard Kern County (ESYKC) is a program of the Grimm Family Education Foundation. ESYKC provides hands-on learning and sensory experiences to students through our garden and kitchen classroom programs, community events and educational partnerships. To learn more about ESYKC, visit www.esykerncounty.org.
About Bank of America
At Bank of America, we are guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We are delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products, and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer, and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
About Kern Community Foundation
Kern Community Foundation is a vibrant nonprofit with a powerfully simple mission: Growing Community. Growing Philanthropy. The Foundation is in business to serve as a charitable resource for local donors and corporations, and to generate capital that provides philanthropic solutions to help make Kern County a better place to live, to work and to visit. For more information about Kern Community Foundation visit www.kernfoundation.org.