Dole Packaged Foods joins Tops Family Markets and Captain Planet Foundation to celebrate Project Learning Garden at Nardin Academy Elementary School

September 22, 2015 – Buffalo, NY - - Today Congressman Brian Higgins of the 26th District joined executives from Tops Friendly Markets, Dole Packaged Foods, Captain Planet Foundation and Nardin Academy Elementary School to inaugurate a special Learning Garden for the school. Together, these three organizations joined forces to offer Nardin students the opportunity to interact with the environment through a learning garden, while expanding their palates and learning about food origins.


Nardin won the Learning Garden by submitting an application to the “Learning Garden Grant” contest in spring of 2014. The contest offered elementary schools in the Tops Friendly Markets service area the chance to win a Learning Garden installation for their school.  Of 47 nominations, Nardin Academy was one of the two winners (the other was Letchworth Elementary School).

“Here at Dole, we understand the importance of teaching children the benefits of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet, whether they are enjoying fresh produce from their learning garden, or a healthy Dole snack,” said Larry White, Vice President - Sales, Dole Packaged Foods. “By partnering with Captain Planet Foundation and Tops Friendly Markets, we are helping more students learn about and develop healthy habits.”

“Anything can be taught in the context of the garden, and hands-on learning supports student understanding of natural systems, food origins, and healthy eating,” explained Leesa Carter, Executive Director of Captain Planet Foundation. “Captain Planet Foundation is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards, and ensuring they are armed with an understanding of the natural world in which they live. We are thrilled to be working with Tops Friendly Markets and Dole to provide Nardin with a CPF Learning Garden!”

"We are thrilled to provide this Learning Garden to Nardin Academy Elementary School “ said Andy Brocato, Director of Public and Community Relations, Tops Markets. "Giving back to the neighborhoods we serve is incredibly important to us, and we are always looking for ways to improve the quality of the life for children through education around nutrition and healthy living."

“Nardin’s Learning Garden and pollinator garden offers our community the possibility to explore place-based education through a variety of projects,” said the Academy’s Green Coordinator Nicole Capitumino. “The gardens afford us endless opportunity to advance our efforts in educating for sustainability in a fun and engaging way.”  Added Nardin’s Chef Julie Levin, “To be impactful at Nardin, we resolve to patiently make common cause and patiently make a good example. That is the essential foundation of the Sustainable Nardin initiative, as is evidenced in our scratch cooked, zero waste dining hall, the outdoor learning classroom, or in our traditional classrooms.”

About Nardin Academy Elementary School

Nardin Elementary School is a school for boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade. We are consistently ranked as one of the top in the area because of our rigorous and enriching academic programs and opportunities for students to explore their talents in the visual and performing arts. For more information, please contact us at

About Dole Packaged Foods

Dole Packaged Foods LLC, a subsidiary of Dole International Holdings, is a leader in growing, sourcing, distributing and marketing fruit, vegetables and healthy snacks throughout the world.  Dole markets a full line of innovative packaged, frozen and dried fruit. The company focuses on four pillars of sustainability in all of its operations: water management, carbon footprint, soil conservation and packaging. For more information please visit or

About Tops Markets

Tops Friendly Markets, LLC, is headquartered in Williamsville, NY and operates 165 full-service supermarkets – 160 company-owned and five franchise locations. With more than 15,000 associates, Tops is a leading full-service grocery retailer in upstate New York, northern Pennsylvania and western Vermont. For more information about Tops Friendly Markets, visit the company’s website at Tops Friendly Markets® is proud of our work with hundreds of local organizations in the communities we serve – our community partners. Our partnered success last year, with you, our customer, gave Tops the opportunity to make donations in excess of $5 million to not-for-profits.

About Captain Planet Foundation (CPF)

Based on the critically-acclaimed animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, CPF was co-founded in 1991 by media mogul Ted Turner and producer Barbara Pyle.   Since then, the Captain Planet Foundation has played a critical role in helping to ensure that the next generation of business leaders and policy makers are environmentally literate citizens who leverage technology and information to manage and protect the air, land, and water upon which all life depends.

CPF is a grant-making foundation that has funded over 2,000 hands-on environmental education projects with schools and non-profits that serve children in all 50 U.S. states and in 23 countries internationally. More than 1.2 million children have directly participated in and benefited from these educational projects.  In addition to its Small Grants Program, the Captain Planet Foundation also operates the following programs: Project Learning Garden, the Leadership Center, SAGES, Planeteer Clubs, and a number of other science education initiatives that exploit the intersections between technology, innovation, the environment and personal action.  For more information:


Marty Ordman - - 805-601-5763

Vince Schiano - - 716-635-5577

Jennifer L. Westerholt - - 716-881-6262 ext. 1861

Here at Dole, we understand the importance of teaching children the benefits of incorporating fruits and vegetables into their diet, whether they are enjoying fresh produce from their learning garden, or a healthy Dole snack

Larry White
Larry White
Vice President - Sales, Dole Packaged Foods