Aetna Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant to Triskeles for Fresh Vegetable Program

  Aetna Foundation Awards $25,000 Grant to Triskeles for Fresh Vegetable

    -- Funds Will Expand Community Gardens, Provide Fresh Produce for Food
                      Pantries in Greater Philadelphia--

Business Wire

EXTON, Pa. -- March 21, 2013

Low-income residents of Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties can
expect a greater supply of locally grown fresh vegetables this year. Thanks to
a $25,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation, Triskeles, Inc. will more than
double the number of community garden beds whose harvests are donated to local
food pantries.

This month, Triskeles and several hundred volunteers will build 95 raised
garden beds in the greater Philadelphia area. The new vegetable gardens, along
with 70 beds built last year, are expected to yield upwards of 10,000 pounds
of lettuce, tomatoes, squash and other vegetables.

“Too many people in our community are going hungry or are forced to rely on
inexpensive, but non-nutritious food,” said Clemens Pietzner, executive
director of Triskeles. “In Chester County alone, the demand for food
assistance skyrocketed by 50 percent this year. Our community gardening
program can help people have access to the fresh produce they need to eat a
healthy diet. We are grateful for the Aetna Foundation’s support.”

Sharon Dalton, vice president of the Aetna Foundation and director of its
regional grant making program, said, “We know that a diet rich in fresh fruit
and vegetables can help ward off diabetes, heart disease and other chronic
ailments. Yet, the people who are most at risk in our communities often have a
hard time affording the kinds of foods that can benefit their health.
Community gardens are a great way to make healthy food more accessible.”

To sustain the gardens, Triskeles partners with local community groups,
schools, corporations and faith-based organizations. The groups help build the
raised beds, which are often located on their property, and recruit volunteers
to sow, water and harvest the vegetables throughout three growing seasons.
Triskeles provides seeds, plants and the gardening know-how to grow bountiful
harvests. The community partners commit to donating at least half of their
crops to designated food pantries.

“The beauty of our program is that it is self-sustaining,” said Pietzner. “We
provide the basic infrastructure and training to start the gardens, and our
community partners take the ball and run with it. There really is no limit to
how many people can get involved with growing their own healthy food and
sharing it with their neighbors who are in need.”

Raised garden builds scheduled this month include:

     March 22   Drexel University’s Dornsife Center      Philadelphia
          March 28     Chester County Department of Youth         West Chester
          March 30     Iglesia de Dios Manantiales de Vida        Phoenixville

The Triskeles community garden initiative began in early 2012 with 70 raised
garden beds and 10 community partners. In 2013, the nonprofit is building 95
additional garden beds with the help of 10 more partners. Organizations
sponsoring the gardens include the Vanguard Group, Inc., QVC, Drexel
University and the Phoenixville Area Senior Center. The gardens’ harvests will
be donated to more than 10 food pantries, including Chester County Food Bank,
Phoenixville Area Community Services and Project Outreach.

About the Aetna Foundation

The Aetna Foundation, Inc. is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm
of Aetna Inc.Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed $413
million in grants and sponsorships, including $19.2 million in 2011.Asa
national health foundation, wepromote wellness, health, and access to
high-quality health care for everyone.This work isenhanced bythe time and
commitment of Aetna employees, who have volunteeredmore than 2.6 million
hourssince 2003. Aetna’s currentgivingis focused on addressing the rising
rate of adult and childhoodobesity in the U.S.; promoting racial and ethnic
equity inhealth and health care; and advancing integrated health care. For
more information, visit

About Triskeles, Inc.

Triskeles provides experiential programming, emphasizing personal contact with
inspiring mentors/teachers while engaging participants in a variety of work
readiness, sustainable, and healthy practices that prepare them for success in
the future. Our mission is to work, through experiential education and support
services, towards a future with others that ensures the long-term ability for
all human beings to co-exist peacefully and with sufficient means while caring
for the earth and its varied resources. For more information visit


Media Contact:
Aetna Foundation
Marnie Goodman, 860-273-2314
Media Contact:
Lisa Faranda, 610-321-9876
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