Keystone 21 Awards Grants To Food System Projects

December 22, 1998

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Keystone 21, a partnership between Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and former Commonwealth Educational System, and the Rodale Institute, has funded three projects designed to enhance understanding about the food system.

The projects were awarded Keystone Grants, which can total up to $30,000 per year to a maximum of $50,000 for two years. The projects are:

--"The Environmental Quality Initiative," a collaboration between Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and College of Communications, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Rodale Institute, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The goal of this project is to promote practical, effective environmental stewardship practices on dairy farms while maintaining profitability for farming communities. Participating agencies and organizations will provide an economic incentive program for farmers who implement management practices that help to reduce or eliminate agricultural pollution.

Through a special label on dairy product packages indicating that a portion of the purchase price will be deposited into a stewardship fund, the Environmental Quality Initiative will link environmentally minded consumers with dairy farmers who share their concerns. The fund will provide farmers with premiums for using environmentally sound practices and funding to help make management changes that enhance natural resources.

--"Mifflin County Youth Gardening Project: We've Got a Good Thing Growing," a continuation of an established collaboration between Penn State Cooperative Extension, Mifflin County Probation and Parole and the Juniata-Mifflin Vocational Technical School.

This program allows youth probation and parole clients to satisfy community service requirements through 4-H gardening and plant science activities. Participants work with youth 4-H members and adult volunteers to design, maintain and harvest a garden.

The food raised in the project is donated to shelters and other nonprofit organizations with a demand for fresh produce. Flowers and decorative plants raised are donated for beautification projects at area nursing homes. By working with others to benefit those in need, participating at-risk youth gain a sense of pride, as well as problem-solving, leadership and interpersonal skills.

--"Celebrating 250 Years of Agricultural Growth," a collaboration among the Agricultural and Industrial Museum of York County, Penn State York, Penn State Cooperative Extension, Bradley Lifting, Hoke's Mill, Farm and Natural Land Trust, D. F. Stauffer Biscuit Company and the Eastern York, York City and Northern York County school districts.

Designed to develop interdisciplinary food systems-oriented curricula and career awareness programs for students in York County, the program will focus on changes that have occurred over time to York County's agricultural heritage and its food systems-related business concerns.

Students will attend a series of age-appropriate, learner-centered experiences at the Agricultural and Industrial Museum's 1840s-era grist mill, in classrooms and elsewhere around the community. Collaborators hope to raise awareness of food system issues, educational needs and career opportunities among urban and rural youth across the county, and to demonstrate the importance of the food system in the county's social, cultural and economic development.

Keystone 21 is seeking proposals for the next round of Keystone Grants. The application deadline is February 15, 1999. For more information, contact Elise Gurgevich, Keystone 21 project coordinator, at 814-865-0114 or send e-mail to World Wide Web users can learn more from the project's Internet site at

Keystone 21, one of 14 W. K. Kellogg Foundation projects across the nation that collectively form the Food Systems Professions Education Initiative, aims to meet challenges created by the rapid changes occurring in the food system by developing innovative formal and nonformal educational programs.


EDITORS: For more information, contact Elise Gurgevich at 814-865-0114.

Contacts: Chuck Gill 814-863-2713 814-865-1068 fax

Last Updated March 19, 2009