Blues grant helps "green" Taylor elementary school

Youngsters to learn organic gardening, healthy nutrition

April 27, 2009

DETROIT - Hands-on organic farming is a new part of life for youngsters at Blair Moody Elementary School in Taylor, MI, thanks to a $15,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The school and its community partners are hosting a ribbon cutting today for a newly constructed hoop house — a solar-powered, free-standing greenhouse.

Moody's funding is part the Blues' Building Healthy Communities grant program. The program is part of the Blues' social mission. Since 2004, the Blues have provided nearly $1 million in Building Healthy Communities grants to address childhood obesity and promote healthier lifestyles among more than 113,000 school children throughout the state.

"We're proud to play a part in helping teach students, parents and the community about the importance of growing and purchasing local food products," said Lynda Rossi, Blues vice president of Social Mission and Public Affairs. "Blue Cross supports programs that help people, particularly children, improve their health through physical activity and nutrition."

Local community partners helped students, teachers, and parents create the 30 foot by 48 foot hoop house this year. Each of Moody's 370 students painted a cement paver, all donated by Home Depot, to install on the house's floor. The City of Taylor donated compost. Marsh Greenhouses, in Rockwood, MI, consulted on planting. Other contributors include Taylor Garden Club and Michigan State University. Construction began March 28, adjacent to the school's butterfly garden.

The school will sell herbs grown in the hoop house to local restaurants. Also, students may take vegetable plants they start in the hoop house to plant in their home gardens.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit organization, provides and administers health benefits to 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to members of Michigan headquartered groups who reside outside the state. The company offers a broad variety of plans including: Traditional Blue Cross Blue Shield; Blue Preferred®, Community Blue℠ and Healthy Blue Incentives℠ PPOs; Blue Care Network HMO; BCN Healthy Blue Living℠; Flexible Blue℠ plans compatible with health savings accounts; Medicare Advantage; Part D Prescription Drug plans, and MyBlue℠ products in the under-age-65 individual market. BCBSM also offers dental, vision and hearing plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit bcbsm.com.