In alignment with the growing garden movement spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, Corner Bakery Cafe introduced its “Get Fresh” program and announced the expansion of its Community Garden Grant to benefit 20 neighborhood gardens across the U.S. in 2010.

With every purchase of featured “Get Fresh” summer menu items, including the Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal and the BBLT (Twice the Bacon & Local Tomatoes), Corner Bakery has pledged to donate a portion of proceeds to the garden grant, helping to bring neighbors together in support of fresh eating and healthy living. Guests can also contribute and show their support for community gardens by capturing photos of themselves enjoying a “Get Fresh” menu item and posting those images to the Corner Bakery Cafe Facebook page.

Back by popular demand, the BBLT sandwich, stacked with six slices of applewood smoked bacon, locally-sourced tomatoes, leaf lettuce, and homemade cracked pepper balsamic mayo, is the star of the “Get Fresh” summer menu. Joining it is the Berry Almond Swiss Oatmeal, a medley of low-fat yogurt, rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants, and dried cranberries topped with toasted almonds, strawberries, and blueberries.

“We feature locally-sourced tomatoes and seasonal berries during the summer months and more than 40 different types of fresh produce throughout the year, and we’re extending our commitment to fresh produce beyond the doors of our cafes with our newly expanded Community Garden Grant,” says Jim Vinz, president and COO of Corner Bakery Cafe. “Now in its second year, the grant provides financial support to strengthen neighborhood gardens and community resources.”

Last year, participating gardens used funds to acquire necessary gardening equipment and to expand and develop plot space and purchase new tools, plants, and seeds.

“The continued support from Corner Bakery will enable us to expand our reach this year,” says Eliza Fournier, Farm Manager at the Green Youth Farm in Chicago, one of the gardens selected to receive the grant for a second year. “This allows us to provide fresh, sustainably-grown food to even more members of our students’ communities.”

This year, participating gardens plan to use funds for everything from irrigation and fence construction to healthy cooking and nutrition classes for local community members.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a recipient of Corner Bakery’s Community Garden Grant,” says Alison Shumaker, Garden Council chair of the GRACE Community Gardens in Grapevine, Texas, one of the five new gardens selected in 2010. “The support we have received from the community, including Corner Bakery, is exciting and inspiring. We look forward to many, many harvests for years to come.”

Corner Bakery Cafe’s commitment to fresh extends beyond the summer months. Throughout the year, every Corner Bakery kitchen is stocked with more than 40 fresh produce items, including six different lettuces, a variety of seasonal apples, seedless English cucumbers, and a rotating selection of more than 13 fresh fruits.

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