NORTH BENNINGTON — The Village School of North Bennington received three financial gifts recently that will help support educational programs at the school.

The Hiland Hall Garden, a partner of the school, recently received a grant for $2,000 from the Whole Kids Foundation, a subsidiary of Whole Foods Market, which will support the "Seed to Plate" garden program. The program, taught by Kristen Blaker and Anna Crabtree, helps Village School students pre-K through grade six learn how to grow their own vegetables, and then how to harvest and use them in healthy meals.

"Teaching children how to eat consciously and healthfully has never been more important or more relevant," said Blaker, "Going back to our roots, literally, to teach children how to enjoy food they have grown with their own hands is a necessary but missing piece in most schools."

The garden also received a $1,000 grant to fund the "Thyme to Grow" program, in which older Village School students grow herbs for use in healing and wellness products, which will be donated to local nonprofits. Currently, the students are exploring ideas such as using catnip from the garden to create pet gifts and lavender eye pillows for seniors.

The school also announced that it has received what it called "a substantial gift" from community member Lillian Sleeman Seward, who has been known for her generosity throughout the community, supporting such organizations as Meals on Wheels and Bennington Project Independence.


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"We are particularly proud of our community partnerships, and this gift will allow us to better support and expand these cooperative ventures. The donation will have a far-reaching benefit for the students and the community and is much appreciated," said VSNB board chairwoman Meg Woolmington.

The primary mission of the Hiland Hall Garden, which was renovated starting in 2007, is to "re-establish these resources as a center for education, gardening, and gardeners in the greater Bennington area." You learn more about the community garden by visiting their website, fohhg.wordpress.com.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.