LOUISVILLE, KY, September 21, 2010 – The Muhammad Ali Center announced today the global launch of ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ to teach children how to build gardens as a way to learn about respect for diverse cultures and nutrition. Yum! Brands Foundation is underwriting the initiative as part of its World Hunger Relief effort, helping children in underprivileged areas learn to grow their own food with plants from different countries.
Yum! Brands Foundation is providing educational tools and materials including a free, downloadable teacher curriculum guide translated into six languages, plus $100,000 in grants to build multicultural gardens in underprivileged schools around the world over the next four years.
The initiative is based on a highly successful pilot conducted by the John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School based in Louisville, Ky. The teacher–led project helped nearly 600 diverse, pre–school to Grade 5 students, from Asia, South America, Russia, Cuba, the U.S. and more, learn how to build multicultural gardens with plants from different countries, grow food and learn respect for different cultures. Children participated in all aspects of the garden including planting, nurturing, harvesting, cooking and donating food to the hungry.
Lonnie Ali, co–founder of the Muhammad Ali Center, said, “Muhammad and I believe that the Peace Gardens initiative can, in the Center’s name, truly bring together youth of diverse cultures in a unique and universal way. This is a ‘green’ undertaking that we believe will take root and generate a bounty of positive results for cross–cultural understanding among youth around the world,” said Ali.
“The Muhammad Ali Center’s core mission is to make a positive difference in the world by fostering respect for humanity and inspiring personal growth,” said Greg Roberts, President of the Muhammad Ali Center based in Louisville, Ky. “The ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ program will sow the seeds of cultural respect by teaching children how to build gardens with plants from different countries,” said Roberts.
“The ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ are part of Yum! Brands efforts to help end hunger through our annual World Hunger Relief campaign that kicks off this week with multi–Grammy Award winner Christina Aguilera as global spokesperson.,” said Jonathan Blum, Chief Public Affairs Officer, Yum! Brands, Inc. “About one billion people are going hungry today and many of them are children. The ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ will help teach children how to grow food, feed themselves and others in need,” said Blum.
“We are thrilled to see that what started as our school’s desire to teach children how to grow food and foster culture sensitivity has turned into an example for other schools around the world,” said Opal Davis Dawson, Principal, John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School based in Louisville, Ky. “We thank the Muhammad Ali Center and Yum! Brands Foundation for their support in leveraging the multicultural garden on a global scale. This day would not have been possible without our continued belief in the importance of school diversity,” said Dawson.
Educators around the world will now be able to access the ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens’ model program including a free downloadable teacher curriculum guide and grant application forms by visiting: www.alicenter.org; www.yum.com; www.mypeacegarden.com and www.garden.org. The curriculum includes a case study based on the John F. Kennedy school success model, tips to planning and planting the garden, plus information on nutrition and nature. The grant application deadline is January 5, 2011 and recipients will be notified by the first week of April 2011. Two–hundred worldwide grants will be awarded over a four–year period. The National Gardening Association, a recognized leader in the field, is providing assistance with curriculum development and grant process.
Mike Metallo, President of the National Gardening Association says about the program, “We are delighted to be a partner with the Muhammad Ali Center and Yum! Brands to bring this opportunity to the world. Youth gardening programs represent a tremendous opportunity for children to understand and explore different cultures. We are excited to be part of this global effort for peace education through school gardens.”
United Nations International Day of Peace Celebration at John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School, Louisville, Ky.
A special event was held today at John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School to commemorate United Nations International Day of Peace and officially launch ‘Muhammad Ali Center Peace Gardens.’ More than 600 students, educators, and guests attended the event. Students prepared different menu items from the produce grown in their garden.
“We also thank our local Whole Foods, Aramark and Chef Quintana for making our ethnic food celebration a success,” said Dawson. Louisville–based Whole Foods provided the expertise of a Master Gardener throughout the summer proving valuable assistance, as well as products for the celebration. Chef Charlie Owen of Aramark led food preparation process for International Day of Peace. Chef Marta Ines Quintana helped prepare the Cuban dish and shared information about her culture with the students.
The model garden consisted of different vegetable beds representing the different countries and the diverse cultures of John F. Kennedy school: squash and beans were grown in the United States/Native American garden and were used to make “3 Sisters Harvest Soup”; tomatoes, peppers and onions were grown in a Salsa Garden representing Mexico; sweet potatoes and black beans were grown in the Cuban garden bed; edamame was grown in the Asian bed and potatoes and cucumbers represented Russia.
Students made “Peace Pinwheels” with special messages of hope and planted them in the school yard, assembling into a large peace symbol.
About The Muhammad Ali Center
The Muhammad Ali Center, co–founded by Ali and his wife Lonnie in 2005 in their hometown of Louisville, Ky., is a cultural attraction and international education center that is inspired by Ali’s ideals. Featuring an award–winning visitor experience, educational and public programming and global initiatives, the Ali Center reaches beyond its physical walls to fulfill its mission: To preserve and share the legacy and ideals of Muhammad Ali, to promote respect, hope and understanding, and to inspire adults and children everywhere to be as great as they can be.
Yum! Brands has been a longstanding and significant supporter and through its partnership, enables online and community–based cultural and educational programming focusing on diversity, multicultural training and personal growth.
About Yum! Brands Foundation and World Hunger Relief The Muhammad Ali Center Peace Garden program is part of Yum! Brands’ efforts to help end hunger, including its annual World Hunger Relief campaign with multi–Grammy Award winner Christina Aguilera as global spokesperson. Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief is the world’s largest private sector hunger relief effort, spanning 110 countries, 37,000 Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, Long John Silver’s and A&W All–American Food restaurants and over 1 million employees, to raise awareness, volunteerism and funds for the United Nations World Food Programme and other hunger relief agencies. To date, this effort has raised nearly $60 million for WFP and other hunger relief agencies and is helping to provide approximately 250 million meals, saving the lives of millions of people in remote corners of the world where hunger is most prevalent.
For more than ten years, the Company has also donated more than $60 million of prepared food annually to the underprivileged in the United States. Since the Company went public in 1997, it has donated nearly $550 million of its food to hunger relief agencies in the U.S. The Company also has been the primary sponsor of the Dare to Care Food Bank in Louisville for nine years, and has donated nearly $9 million to this local agency. At the Clinton Global Initiative in 2008, Yum! Brands was recognized for its hunger relief efforts.
Yum! Brands, Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., is the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system restaurants with more than 37,000 restaurants in more than 110 countries and territories. The company is ranked #216 on the Fortune 500 List, with revenues of nearly $11 billion in 2009. Four of the company’s restaurant brands – KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s – are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza, Mexican–style food categories and quick–service seafood categories. A&W Restaurants is the longest running quick–service franchise chain in America. Outside the United States, the Yum! Brands system opened more than four new restaurants each day of the year, making it a leader in international retail development. The Company has consistently been recognized for its reward and recognition culture, diversity leadership, community giving, and consistent shareholder returns.
Founded in 1973, National Gardening Association (NGA) is a national nonprofit leader in plant–based education, respected for its award–winning, information–rich Web sites and newsletters; grants, curricula, and resources for youth gardens; and research for the lawn and garden industry. NGA’s mission is to promote home, school, and community gardening as a means to renew and sustain the essential connection between people, plants, and the environment. To learn more about gardening with children, please visit www.kidsgardening.org.