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Schoolyards: A Haven of Green Benefits
—AFT Co-Sponsors Free Exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden
Jennifer Morrill 202-378-1255, jmorrill@farmland.org

Washington, DC , July 11, 2008—American Farmland Trust (AFT) is proud to be a co-sponsor of the U.S. Botanic Garden’s (USBG) Sustainable Schoolyard Exhibit that is part of a larger summer sustainability show, One Planet-Ours!

The Sustainable Schoolyard exhibit shows how dynamic learning environments can connect the design of a community with its residents’ well being and health. Visitors to the exhibit will learn about ecological teaching tools, outdoor classroom concepts, green building practices, renewable energy systems and how such a schoolyard could improve the community to which it belongs.

“People don’t often think about all the ways farms support communities—particularly urban or suburban communities,” says Jane Kirchner, AFT’s director of marketing. “Farms play a crucial role in sustainability, whether by providing fresh local food, cleaner water, wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services, or helping to maintain the local economy. The link to farms and farmland is so logical for this exhibit.”

The exhibit also shows that sustainability can be practiced in any schoolyard and has many benefits. All elements of the display are designed to be replicable and materials are provided at the exhibit so patrons can implement these concepts at home and their schools.

”Last fall, AFT released a podcast about the Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School in Berkley, CA,” adds Kirchner. “In their project, urban students learn about organic gardening and have access to a kitchen classroom where they learn to prepare seasonal produce. As a result of that podcast, the exhibit organizers drew a connection between sustainable schoolyards and AFT’s work to save farms and farmland that bring local foods to farmers’ markets, restaurants and grocers. That’s how we became involved in the USBG exhibit.”

AFT has joined American Planning Association, Concern, Inc., National Association of Realtors ®, National Association of Counties, The Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education, The Conservation Fund and the Smart Growth Network to form the Friends of Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities, with the intent to demonstrate healthy schoolyards as key elements of green, active and sustainable communities.

The USBG is located on the west side of the U.S. Capitol Building. The free exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until October 13, 2008. For more information, visit the exhibit’s website at sustainableschoolyard.org.




American Farmland Trust is the nation's leading conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since its founding in 1980 by a group of farmers and citizens concerned about the rapid loss of farmland to development, AFT has helped save millions of acres of farmland from development and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more.

AFT's national office is located in Washington, DC. Phone: 202-331-7300. For more information, visit www.farmland.org.

American Farmland Trust