ACHRI Delta Garden Study Receives Cooking Grant from Arkansas Community Foundation

LITTLE ROCK, AR. (June 30, 2010) – A groundbreaking Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) school garden study has been awarded a grant from the Arkansas Community Foundation (ARCF) to support kids’ cooking. The grant will pay for kitchen equipment used during cooking classes held with middle school students participating in the program.

The $6,000 grant from ARCF’s Giving Tree Endowment will help participating schools, including the study’s pilot site, Mabelvale Magnet Middle, learn how to process produce and create simple, fun, nutritious dishes using garden-fresh fruits and vegetables.

“ARCF’s generosity means that participating students will have access to electric woks, canning supplies, solar ovens and special utensils,” said Judith Weber, PhD, RD, lead investigator of the ACHRI Delta Garden Study. “Recipes are being developed based on the fresh ingredients that will be available from the garden. The students will be involved in the planting, weeding, watering and harvesting of the produce from the garden, and now they will also learn how to prepare fantastic recipes from that produce and taste those prepared dishes.”

Weber directs the Childhood Obesity Prevention Research Team located in the Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) Section of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Pediatrics.

The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute will provide culinary expertise for the Delta Garden Study team as it develops recipes and hands-on cooking lessons using vegetables and fruits they will grow in the gardens and the supplies that will be purchased with the ARCF grant.

Initial work on the Delta Garden Study began in the spring with a $2 million-plus grant from the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit (Delta OPRU).

The Mabelvale campus serves as the pilot school for the study, which is designed to show how building new gardens — complete with greenhouses, budding crops and composting areas — can help adolescents cultivate green thumbs, log more physical activity, eat healthier and connect with their schools. The Delta Garden Study is developing a one-acre garden complete with equipment, seeds, chicken coops and a composting area at the school. Henderson Health Sciences Magnet Middle School in Little Rock serves as the control site for the study’s pilot.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children. The campus spans 28 city blocks and houses 316 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 4,000 employees. The private, nonprofit health care facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research - all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children’s health and development. ACH recently ranked No. 85 on FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®. For more information, visit .

ACHRI provides a research environment on the ACH campus to meet the needs of the UAMS faculty.  Research scientists at ACHRI conduct clinical, basic science, and health services research for the purpose of treating illnesses, preventing disease and improving the health of children everywhere.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; six institutes; and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. Its institutes are the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or .

The Delta Obesity Prevention Research Unit (Delta OPRU) of the Agricultural Research Service ( ), U.S. Department of Agriculture, is studying how to improve the nutrition and health of families in the tri-State (Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi) Lower Mississippi River Delta region. The unit coordinates a major research initiative, involving seven institutions in the three-state region, to develop and implement coordinated, science-based research studies for the prevention of obesity in at-risk populations. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the USDA. 

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