School entries are being accepted for the fifth annual Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year Contest, according to the Arkansas Agriculture Department.


Applicants may be any Arkansas school, grades pre-K through 12, that had a school garden open during the 2017-2018 school year or schools planning to start a garden in the 2018-2019 school year.


The deadline for submissions is Friday, Sept. 14, according to the news release. The state agriculture department and Farm Credit are contest sponsors.


Farm Credit is providing funding for winners in the following award categories: Best School Garden Start-Up Proposal - $500; Best Nutrition Education Based Garden - $500; Best Community Collaboration Garden - $500; Best Environmental Education Focused Garden - $500; and Overall Winning Arkansas Grown School Garden of the Year - $1,000.


All school applicants, except those applying for the school garden start-up category, are required to provide photos or video documentation of garden activities and progress.


“School gardens bring agriculture, our state’s largest industry, to life for Arkansas students,” Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Wes Ward said. “We are pleased to see this program enter a fifth year of successfully helping support and start school garden initiatives in counties across Arkansas. We appreciate the sponsorship provided by Farm Credit that makes this important program possible.”


James McJunkins is Farm Credit Midsouth president and chief executive officer.


“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we are excited to continue our support of teachers and projects that engage Arkansas students in food production and agricultural sustainability,” McJunkins said. “Through these partnerships, we can ensure that the valuable role of Arkansas agriculture remains top-of-mind for the next generation.”


The application deadline is Sept. 14. Online entry forms and program requirements are available at here.