FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Local education nonprofit Apple Seeds announced Wednesday morning it has received a grant from the Walmart Foundation to provide nutrition education to students affected by food insecurity through its Farm Lab and Cooking in Schools programs.

The press release notes how post-pandemic statistics show Arkansas ranking low in numerous child health categories including overall health and childhood food security.

With the grant from Walmart Foundation and other community support, Apple Seeds said it provides nutrition education and cooking skills to children impacted by food insecurity through field trips to Apple Seeds Teaching Farm in Fayetteville where students get “hands-on garden experience” to learn about where healthy food comes from.

In addition, this support enables Apple Seeds to partner with local schools to provide during-school nutrition education and cooking skills to students.

“Walmart Foundation’s support has been extremely valuable over the past ten years,” says Mary Thompson, Executive Director of Apple Seeds.  “We know that students need access to fresh fruits and vegetables, but even more than that, they need to be willing to try those fruits and vegetables.”

On average, Thompson says 70% of students that leave the program are more familiar with fruits and vegetables, thus more willing to try them. “As we reach more students, we are going to see a greater impact on health in our region,” she said.