Cultivate Charlottesville has worked with the school division for more than 10 years through its City Schoolyard Garden program.
The grant is part of CACF’s Shaping Futures program. The University of Virginia Health System and Dorothy Batten are helping to fund the grant. The goal of the program is to support projects that improve outcomes in key areas of the region’s community health improvement plan.
CACF said in a news release that it had sought proposals that could lead to population-level change for a specific demographic group in areas such as healthy eating and active living, mental health and substance abuse, equity and accessibility, and the fostering of a healthy and connected community for all ages.
About 54% of the division’s students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch. In 2018, about 12% of Charlottesville residents were considered food insecure, meaning they lack access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life, according to a Feeding America database. Statewide, about 10% of people were food insecure in 2018.
The Just Food program was created to improve food security and health outcomes for Charlottesville youth through increased access to and consumption of healthy school meals, engagement in school gardens, and cultivating leadership and lifelong healthy living skills, according to a CACF announcement.