Kids, grab your Flip and get ready to win $5,000 gardening challenge


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

Eco-actress Emmanuelle Chriqui is behind a not-so-evil plot to get children to eat their carrots. And broccoli. And green beans.

Chriqui and other environmentally-friendly actresses including Amy Smart, Olivia Wilde and Rosario Dawson will be among those judging the ‘Yes to Carrots Garden Challenge’ which runs through May 12: Public school children in grades K through 8 have the chance to win $5,000 in gardening supplies for their school. All they have to do is make a short video explaining why their school deserves it. The most creative video will win.


‘If you plant a garden, you’re inclined to eat better,’ Chriqui said. Although she’s too busy playing Sloan on HBO’s ‘Entourage’ and other projects to have her own garden, Chriqui looks forward to settling down in a home with room for a veggie patch. Until then, she has fond memories of being a little girl and trotting out into the backyard for a handful of fresh mint when her mom was make a pitcher of lemonade. She said she knows first-hand that making that connection -- between growing your own food, and how much fun it can be -- can help kids choose healthful food over junk food. ‘Doesn’t it sound so much less boring to say, ‘Let’s go pick an apple off a tree and eat it’? ‘

Chriqui is spearheading the challenge on behalf of the organic hair-and-skin-care line Yes to Carrots and the Environmental Media Assn.’s Young Hollywood Board. Challenge details: Schools may enter the contest by uploading a short video on the Yes to Carrots Garden Challenge website on or before May 12, 2010, expressing why they think a garden would be a positive addition to the school. The school should have a preexisting commitment to gardening, an internal champion for the project, and it must be a public school, grades ranging K-8.

The winning school will receive a $5,000 grant from the Yes to Carrots Seed Fund, to help with buying seeds, plants, gardening equipment, irrigation support and acquiring the technical know-how. They also get some star power: Chriqui will also serve as the school’s ‘Garden Ambassador’ -- an expansion of work she already does locally with Yes to Carrots and the EMA. For more challenge details:

Ido Leffler, Yes to Carrots co-founder, said he hopes students and their teachers get something out of the challenge application process, even if they do not win. ‘This is all about getting kids to say yes to a healthier lifestyle.’ And healthy, he said, doesn’t mean boring. ‘I say yes to ice cream ... but I definitely say yes to carrots and vegetables too.

‘Schools are losing so much funding,’ he added. ‘To be able to get an organic garden is a wonderful gift, and it’s a great way for us to give back.’

-- Rene Lynch