Hy-Vee’s Sprouts program will give kids a new reason to love their veggies

April Drewel, foreground, and Lindsey Koelling spread mulch around the herb plants they just put in the soil. The duo will provide the labor and expertise for this cooperative effort between Hy-Vee and the Special Learning Center.

April Drewel, foreground, and Lindsey Koelling spread mulch around the herb plants they just put in the soil. The duo will provide the labor and expertise for this cooperative effort between Hy-Vee and the Special Learning Center. Photo by Julie Smith.

April Brewer loves getting her hands in the dirt, and she loves the Special Learning Center.

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So when Hy-Vee decided to take part in the company’s first year for the Sprouts program, she was beyond excited.

Sprouts is a national program pairing Hy-Vee stores with local schools that want to take part in a vegetable garden program.

Hy-Vee provides the plants, soil and additives, along with educational sessions with a dietitian.

Lindsey Koelling, a registered and licensed dietitian with Hy-Vee, said she will go into classrooms, teaching children about the benefits of fresh fruits and especially the vegetables they will grow in the garden. She will also make recipes with the vegetables grown in the garden.

“The garden is magnificent. It helps the children in many ways. They learn about gardening, vegetables, and just working outdoors. They love to pick the produce and eat it for snack. They benefit from the healthy foods as well. They also do lessons with the garden,” said Debbie Hamler, executive director of the Special Learning Center.

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