The voting period is now open!

The annual Gardens for Good grant helps empower urban garden projects to grow organic food and nourish their communities. The program has supported 25 gardens across North America with $15,000 grants over the last 9 years.

The voting period is open until October 21st. Following this, the top 9 vote receiving gardens will move onto the second phase.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE GARDEN

Whether it’s the garden nearest you, or the one you think has the most inspiring story, help get your garden among the top 9 vote-recipients to move onto phase 2 of the contest!

72
votes

Blooming Acres

Broken Arrow, OK, United States
72
votes

Blooming Acres

Broken Arrow, OK, United States

For the past 40 years, A New Leaf has utilized horticultural therapy as a means of training people with developmental disabilities to work. Currently, 29,000 people with developmental disabilities are living in the Tulsa area. Studies show that 85% are unemployed and isolated from the community, largely because they have not been taught the skills necessary to find and maintain a steady job.

Hunger and the lack of access to healthy food options is a pervasive problem statewide. Oklahoma is ranked 10th in difficulty accessing affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Seventeen percent of Oklahoma’s population is considered food insecure, which leaves more than 650,000 Oklahomans unsure of where they will get their next meal. In the Tulsa area alone, finding food is a routine struggle with only 7% of residents living within a five minute walking vicinity of a grocery store.

In 2015, A New Leaf took a ground breaking approach to tackle both of these systemic problems with an innovative farm to provide fresh produce to the community. As a result, A New Leaf’s Blooming Acres has transformed three acres into a vibrant community farm operated by people with developmental disabilities. Clients are paid a wage for their work and are involved in all farming processes – from planting seeds to cultivating the crops to harvesting the produce and delivering the produce to consumers. Community members are invited to purchase a share of the growing season. In return, the consumer receives fresh produce delivered on a weekly basis by clients of A New Leaf. In addition, Blooming Acres donates fresh produce each season to partnering organizations fighting hunger in our community. In 2017, Blooming Acres grew 4,400 lbs of produce and donated 1,100lbs to partnering organizations – over a thousand pounds more than in 2016. In 2018, A New Leaf grew over 4,700 lbs of nutrient dense produce and donated more than 1,800 to partnering agencies.

Vote for this garden
0
votes

Clean Your Plate Culinary Garden

BRUNSWICK, GA, United States
0
votes

Clean Your Plate Culinary Garden

BRUNSWICK, GA, United States

According to USA Today, Brunswick is the poorest city in Georgia with a poverty rate of 39% (compared to 16.9% in Georgia). The majority of the households are living on less than $25,000 annually, and more than one third of the community relies on SNAP benefits to purchase groceries.[1] Research has shown that, in low-income households, vegetables are the first food group to disappear from the diet,[2] despite strong evidence that diets high in fruits and vegetables have improved health outcomes. Many studies have shown a relationship between unhealthy diets leading to an increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and some cancers. [3]

In 2017, almost one third of the state of Georgia was obese. 11.4% of the population was diagnosed with diabetes and 33.1% with hypertension.[4] Research has shown that plant-based diets (high amounts of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seeds) can help manage blood sugars, HbA­1c levels, and blood pressures. The plant-based diets can also help increase weight loss by reducing consumption of animal products, as meats have been positively associated with obesity.[5]

While the data supports increasing fruit and vegetable intake to help combat these diseases, many adults are not meeting the daily recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake. Furthermore, the percentages of low-income adults who meet these recommendations is even lower at 7% compared to 11.4% of high-income adults.[6] In 2018, the CDC recognized the importance of improved accessibility to healthy foods in addition to physician recommendations.

The Clean Your Plate Culinary Garden located in Brunswick, Georgia is meant to address the above issues in our community. It currently operates as a prescription vegetable program. It is located adjacent to the hospital, at Nunnally House, a free place to stay for cancer patients, family members of those in the ICU, and Medical College of Georgia Students. The primary beneficiaries of this project are those identified by the health system as having limited resources but high motivation to change their current disease states. As education is as important as access we will also partner with the patients identified to provide relevant recipes, planting guides and community workshops provided by Clean Your Plate, UGA Master Gardner Extension, local physicians and other volunteers.

Vote for this garden
295
votes

Colwood Community Garden

Victoria, BC, Canada
295
votes

Colwood Community Garden

Victoria, BC, Canada

Colwood Community Garden provides 26 plots for rent to gardeners and we support the local foodbank with harvest from 2 gardens set aside for that purpose. In addition, two double plots are used by 4 classes at the local elementary school, Wishart Elementary School. They also use the whole garden space as an outdoor classroom, and students, with their teachers, are often found between the plots, in their own “special space” reading quietly, or working on their math problems.
The Colwood Community Garden currently has a waiting list of 10 new families wanting a plot, and 6 of our existing members also would like to rent additional plots. This is the only public community garden in the Colwood and Langford area. There is a great need for community gardens in our area, and our goal is to expand this garden to its geographical limit, that is from curb to curb, so that as many people as possible can benefit from healthy, organic, home grown fruit and vegetables. We propose to build garden boxes for Dunsmuir Middle School, grades 6-8, to use as teaching tools, grow food for their cafeteria, and learn about the importance of plants.
Other projects included in this expansion are: a toolshed, 2 gardens that are compatible with gardening from a wheelchair or mobility assist appliance (scooter, walker, canes), and creating paths that will be safe for these appliances to move on (limestone gravel).
Our goal as a community is to provide space for and to work with people, young and old, to grow more food in the region. Our planned programs and services gets individuals and families active in growing, sharing, buying and eating local foods. Many of our plot renters were first time gardeners, and the seasoned gardeners shared their knowledge, their seeds and their support, helping the learners grow successful harvests. The peace that comes with working in a growing environment, working with our hands, and the thrill of seeing the magic of seedlings coming to life was shared with all gardeners, from the youngest kindergarten class to the oldest seasoned gardener. When we built the garden in 2018, none of the plot renters knew each other, and this year they have all come together as old friends, welcoming the new members and enjoying new friendships. This Community Garden really is about community.

Vote for this garden
1
votes

Community Teaching Garden

Burlington, VT, United States
1
votes

Community Teaching Garden

Burlington, VT, United States

The Community Teaching Garden is a unique garden and education program offered by the Vermont Community Garden Network (VCGN). It is situated within a large community gardens site managed by Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront, which is overseen by the City’s Land Steward. VCGN collaborates with the Recreation Department to maintain the Teaching Garden and provide training and support for all volunteer garden leaders in 14 other community garden sites across the city.

The Teaching Garden serves many purposes. It is the outdoor classroom for teaching adults how to grow their own food in a fun, supportive, and cooperative learning environment. The 22-week long organic course follows the rhythm of the growing season through lessons and hands-on garden work. In addition to direct instruction for students who enroll in the course, Teaching Garden lessons are shared throughout Vermont on a blog for greater impact.

According to one course participant: “It has been a great experience to have a harvest and go home to prepare a meal with everything that I grew, it made me feel energized and successful. I developed new relationships that have helped me feel part of my community as I am new to the area.”

The garden is also host for a variety of workshops and tours offered free to community members, it provides many beds of shared perennial crops for fellow gardeners within the larger site, and it grows fresh produce for the local food shelf.

Other programs administered by VCGN include Gardens for Learning (cultivating skills and providing food for children at risk of summertime hunger); Senior Horticulture Therapy (engaging seniors and veterans in gardening for health and social connections); Housing Gardens (teaching and supporting families in affordable housing how to grow food).

Vote for this garden
386
votes

Elk Grove Community Garden and Learning Center

Elk Grove, CA, United States
386
votes

Elk Grove Community Garden and Learning Center

Elk Grove, CA, United States

The Elk Grove Community Garden and Learning Center is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 corporation. It is in its 15th year of providing gardening and learning opportunities for the Elk Grove Community. The garden is a self-sustaining 100% volunteer organization that serves the elderly, children’s programs, youth volunteer programs, families and the Food Bank organization. The garden is located on a 1.1-acre parcel of Elk Grove City owned land. As a demonstration garden, it hosts onsite free classes related to various gardening subjects throughout the year. The garden is a gathering place where people meet, share information and learn at the grass roots level of growing food. All classes are open to all ages, and taught by Master Gardeners, knowledgeable volunteers and local businesses.
It offers gardening opportunities to everyone, including all persons with various disabilities. It has an ADA approved garden plots for those with physical disabilities. The garden is equipped with wheelchair or walker access paths and has an ADA approved restroom facility. There are also garden benches located throughout the garden to sit and relax built by many student volunteers and scouts. The Elk Grove Community Garden is a great resource for middle and high school students as they earn their community service academic requirements. The Girls/Boys and Eagle Scouts programs earns their progression badges through the many projects they have accomplished in the garden.
The garden designated 32 garden plots in support of the Elk Grove Food Bank donation program. Volunteers plant and tend the food bank garden plots. A garden volunteer tends two beehives by the Children’s garden area. Harvested honey and produce are donated to the food bank as well. As a result of the program, the garden donates approximately 5,000 pounds worth of fresh organic produce annually.
Lastly, the garden is certified by the National Wildlife Habitat Foundation which means, the wildlife habitats and native plants in the garden are thriving successfully.
The Elk Grove Community Garden’s mission is building community and being a learning center, teaching the community what they can accomplish to attain sustainable living at the lowest level and at a youngest age. The organization earns funding through various fundraising, plot fees, plant sales and community donations. The garden has no paid employees. All earnings are utilized to maintain and support the Elk Grove Community Garden’s future sustainability.

Vote for this garden
96
votes

Flour Mill Community Farm

Sudbury, ON, Canada
96
votes

Flour Mill Community Farm

Sudbury, ON, Canada

The Flour Mill Community Farm is a pilot project for urban farming in Northeastern Ontario. As a social enterprise, our market-garden aims to empower youth (aged 15 to 18), from marginalized neighborhoods. During the 6 week paid contract (through the YMCA employment services program), the youth farmers learn important life skills such as growing food, retail experience, work ethic, community engagement…and much more. The City of Greater Sudbury has devoted over 5 000 square feet of land near a social housing complex for our garden. Our community farm has reclaimed underutilized green space and made a safe and enjoyable place for the community to gather.

Vote for this garden
940
votes

Garden Joy

Ripon, CA, United States
940
votes

Garden Joy

Ripon, CA, United States

Founded in 2016, our non-profit Oak Valley Youth Garden, now Garden Joy, is the only free youth garden education program in our region. Located in the agriculturally rich Central Valley of California, we were inspired to cultivate wellness and community by engaging youth and their families in growing, eating and donating fresh produce. We realized a need for youth in our area to not only understand and appreciate where our food comes from, but to actively participate in producing food for themselves and for those experiencing food insecurity and hunger. We believe everyone should have access to fresh produce.

The original program was bi-monthly education in the garden for youth and their families, including: planting, maintenance, harvesting, crafts, story time and lessons in earth science and agriculture. We served 120 children monthly, and donated 400 pounds of produce annually.

We outgrew our old space in 2018 and were offered a one acre plot of land by Studio Joy Pilates on Main Street in downtown Ripon. The space is ideal for our garden, and we have been granted full use rights. In addition to building a large space for the public to enjoy and use as an educational space, we are excited to turn a lot that has been vacant for decades into a useful green space.

Our new project, Garden Joy, is a youth and community garden that will include a children’s play area, raised beds for vegetable production, fruit trees, native plant area, and lawn area. We are starting from a blank slate at the new property, as it requires everything, including irrigation installation, pathways, and vegetation.

In this new space, we will expand our programming as a youth garden and serve families, individuals and the greater community. We will offer family friendly events and classes that we estimate will reach 100 families monthly, and serve up to 250 children from multiple schools, three times a week. We will have garden space for students from preschool through high school. We will serve homeschool, public, and private school students with edible education programs. Additionally, the site will double our food production capacity to provide 1,000 pounds of fresh produce annually to local families in need. In San Joaquin county, 17.4% of residents live below the poverty line. We donate all produce to the St. Vincent De Paul Society, that distributes food to over 10,000 low-income residents annually.

Vote for this garden
149
votes

Growing Roots

Pomona, CA, United States
149
votes

Growing Roots

Pomona, CA, United States

Growing Roots is a non-profit organization that strengthens community through building and maintaining urban farms and gardens in southern California. As of now we are partnered with Center Street Community Garden in Pomona and are growing food on three other residential projects.

The Gardens for Good grant is our first grant application ever! As of now all expenses have been covered out-of-pocket by the founder of Growing Roots, its board members, and a few generous donations. Attainment of the Gardens for Good grant will provide Growing Roots with the resources necessary to grow on another lot and improve productivity and efficiency of our existing grow sites. We need a chipper to clean up and speed up our compost piles. We are always in need of seeds, native plant varieties, and tools. One of those tools is a weed whacker to remove aggressive grasses, and encourage our volunteers by not having them weed all the time. Not to mention it will make our garden look splendid. Other materials in mind are row covers, and stakes for trellis structures. We are here to farm Pomona up and share in the harvest grown by the people, for the people.

Growing Roots is unique in that its members and volunteers are composed mainly of people of color. Growing Roots is special in that its volunteers have taken ownership and value their role in the organization. Volunteers have been showing up and showing out consistently, so much so that they showed up at 7AM to help harvest for our first Farmer’s Market this September. It wasn’t just me at Farmer’s Market – it was US at Farmer’s Market.

What we grow is firstly distributed at no cost to our community with a focus on food access for low-income people of color (POC). Produce that is not distributed, is sold at the Pomona’s Farmer’s Market at a very affordable price. Our goal is to make local and seasonal food available to everyone. Not only do we grow food for our community, but we are strengthening our community by hosting workshops and community events centered on wellness, art, and sustainability. We educate our community on the benefits of participating in urban agriculture and how it plays a role in food distribution and equity. We believe that access to local, fresh produce is a right and not a privilege.

Vote for this garden
86
votes

Inlet Community Garden

Port Moody, BC, Canada
86
votes

Inlet Community Garden

Port Moody, BC, Canada

The Inlet Community Garden is a collection of twenty large garden plots, nestled in Port Moody’s Rocky Point Park. As one of only two community gardens in the area, our garden plays an important role in establishing food education and security in our growing city.
Port Moody has a population of more than 33,000 people, many of which are young families. The neighbourhood near the park is home to multiple childcare centre and schools, many of which rely on the park to provide essential outdoor time for the children. There are several multi-family unit developments proposed for the area and we anticipate the need for shared green space, like the park, and access to food-producing spaces for families will continue to grow substantially.

With this planned growth, there is a tremendous opportunity to establish the garden as a learning centre for the childcare centres and schools to ensure the next generation understands and values small scale, local food production. There is also opportunity to strengthen the garden’s role as a centre for community and connection in Port Moody. Yet, the biggest issue the garden faces today is finding a way to increase our prominence and visibility in the community. The garden tucked away in the park, away from view of the residents of Port Moody and the many people who visit the park each day.

If we were to receive a Gardens For Good Grant from Nature’s Path, we would expand the footprint of the garden to increase the number of plots towards the main road (Murray Street) and better expose the garden to passers by, with a more prominent entrance (such as an archway) and shared spaces (such as bench seating and interactive areas). By offering more plots to the community, we increase the number of available volunteers for the maintenance of the garden and our work in the community. A portion of these additional plots would be made available to the local childcare centres to plant and nurture. We would also offer more education opportunities for new and existing members of the garden such as: natural pest management, small space planting, and cultivating native plant species. Finally, we would use funds to establish regular outreach, such as social media support (establishing and building our Facebook page) and participating in existing community events, such as Golden Spike Days and the annual Fingerling Festivals, with demonstration activities and educational materials.

Vote for this garden
3
votes

Langley Demonstration Garden

Langley , BC, Canada
3
votes

Langley Demonstration Garden

Langley , BC, Canada

The Langley Demonstration Garden is a public space dedicated to nourishing the health of our community and the flora and fauna we share it with. Operated by Langley Environmental Partners Society in partnership with the Township of Langley, the garden demonstrates sustainable gardening methods. Through public engagement, the Demo Garden aims to encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly gardening practices such as composting, all season vegetables gardening, sustainable water usage, natural pesticide and fertilizer techniques, and creating native plant gardens that support pollinators and wildlife. The garden hosts community events and public workshops, as well as education programs for youth, teaching about nature and the local food system. The garden is a showcase site that supports Langley’s philosophy of promoting green space for environmental practice by the public. The garden was established in 1992, and in 2013 moved to a new location inside the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, a sustainable horticulture park, The garden is open from dawn until dusk, 7 days a week year round, and staffed from April-November. The Gardens for Good funding will allow the Demo Garden to expand, creating a Learning Farm to support a high school agriculture education program, and provide support for leaders of school ground gardens across Langley.

Vote for this garden
2
votes

Lynn YMCA Garden Club

Lynn, MA, United States
2
votes

Lynn YMCA Garden Club

Lynn, MA, United States

The Lynn YMCA has been an anchor in the community for nearly 150 years. The Garden Club was created in 2015 as a way to introduce green space for growing fruits and vegetables to our local youth. This was particularly transformative for many students who didn’t know where their food came from. Lynn is one of the top ten cities in MA where there is a “Grocery Gap” facing its citizens; which is defined as areas with both lower incomes and a lack of fully stocked and accessible grocery stores according to the Mass Dept. of Public Health. Youth, ages 5-12, use the yields of the Garden in our Healthy Kids Kitchen program, where they create and eat healthy meals and learn about the benefits of good nutrition.

Vote for this garden
3
votes

Murrayville Community Garden

Langley, BC, Canada
3
votes

Murrayville Community Garden

Langley, BC, Canada

The Murrayville Community Garden is located one block east of 224th street on Old Yale Road in Langley, BC. The gardens were built as a partnership between Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) and the Township of Langley Parks Development and Design Department.

The Murrayville Community Garden was constructed in 2005 by LEPS’ Skills Link youth team.
The gardens now offer forty-one 10X10 garden beds filled with nutrient-rich soil surrounded by gravel paths for ease of access, a three-bin compost system, a garden shed for storing materials, and a communal picnic table. Now entering its fourteenth growing season, the garden has gained a long wait-list of potential members.

At the Murrayville Community Garden, gardening neighbours chat, share tips and admire one another’s work. These gardens allow participants to grow food that is affordable, organic and grown close to home. Members also chose to plant butterfly gardens and cut flower beds.
Participants in the Murrayville Community Garden include individual residents, families and seniors residing in nearby multi-family units, and community groups.

Since its’ establishment, LEPS has taken the lead in the operation and maintenance of the Murrayville Community Garden. It has developed a Community Garden Association that motivates community members to govern this local resource promoting sustainable agriculture. All current members of the Community Garden, as well as local area residents, take an active role in not only growing organic food for themselves, but also developing goals to give back to the local community and environment.

These goals have been achieved by dedicating three food bank plots where all the food grown is donated to the Langley food banks. This garden also has an area with native fruit trees and shrubs.
The native trees and berry shrubs in the Murrayville Community Garden have allowed increased food security for garden members. Each year, half of the fruit and berries grown at the Murrayville Community Garden will be utilized by garden members, the other half donated to the Langley Food Bank via the Langley Environmental Partners Society Gleaning Program.

Vote for this garden
671
votes

Sowing Solidarity

Sacramento, CA, United States
671
votes

Sowing Solidarity

Sacramento, CA, United States

Our purpose is simple: we sow connection with the earth, connection with our local neighbors on the margins and with our global neighbors struggling for survival. Sowing Solidarity is an all-volunteer movement (multi-generational and 100+ strong) who farm for the common good. The proceeds from our garden sales are invested directly into well researched and highly effective public health programs. Our excess produce is delivered to our local food bank.

In 2018, Sowing Solidarity transformed a plot of land, previously dormant for 50 years into a vibrant urban farm that now serves as a hub of neighborhood bonding and connection. Volunteers have built community and enhanced their gardening acumen. Education about sustainable farming practices and techniques is shared with volunteers, and we are now ready to begin hosting farming apprentices — equipping them with confidence and skill in farming techniques that are productive and sustainable.

At our weekly farm stand, customers are standing on the very land where their food has been beautifully cultivated, more connection than even a traditional farmers market can offer. Guests learn about food insecurity issues right here in Sacramento and the scope of food and health insecurity issues globally. With each purchase, they are thanked for how they participate in supporting Sowing Solidarity’s efforts in addressing these issues.

Children help pick vegetables to bring home, play among butterflies and bees and help with farm chores using child-sized tools. Singing, stories and crafts under the oak tree bring young families together during our Saturday morning stand. Neighborhood student groups enjoy our outdoor natural classroom where they receive age-appropriate farm lesson on pollinators, soil science, planting methodology. Fresh hyper-locally grown food draws people of all ages and backgrounds. Recipes are exchanged, kitchen stories are swapped, and families gather in every language and culture. The farmstand is natural common ground.

Impressed with the groundswell of such positive community energy, the City of Sacramento has invited us to expand in an urban revitalization project. This will allow us to invite more people into green spaces, connect them with food, and more profoundly manifest our commitment to great community work. The only thing we now lack to elevate our mission to the next level is start-up capital. $15,000 can make this dream come true!

Interested in helping us sow solidarity and connection? Please vote for us! Join our movement as a volunteer, receive our newsletter, or donate!

Vote for this garden
69
votes

The Burke Ridge Garden

Pollock Pines, CA, United States
69
votes

The Burke Ridge Garden

Pollock Pines, CA, United States

When I think of community I think of a garden. I grew up sharing a community garden on my parents land with neighbors around us. I believe that was the foundation to my dream. Fast forward 25 years to our farm here in the Sierra mountains. I have spent 5 years building it from scratch. We have a large senior community here in our small town that live on a budget. Every week I take senior families food. Next year I’d love to open our garden to our town. To share the same dream I’ve been growing. I’d like to put in a greenhouse since we have snow till May most years and a drip system. I’d like to offer an internship for the homeless in our community to help in the garden and keep the food they learn to grow. I do most all the work alone and I believe it takes a village to raise a dream. My town could use that dream and we are the bridge. We own our land and the garden is 1/3 an acre we plan to expand the garden to feed so many more families for free.

Vote for this garden
1
votes

The Elements Garden

Wilmington, NC, United States
1
votes

The Elements Garden

Wilmington, NC, United States

The Elements Garden, located off 3rd Street & Wooster, is a growing garden that provides at-risk youth in the community with a resource to explore their creativity. This garden is part of a collection of community gardens in Wilmington. The Wilmington Sheriffs dept. picks up children that are at-risk, and teach them about opportunities like gardening, to help them live their best life. The garden is located right beside the Sheriff’s department, allowing the program to easily take advantage of many learning opportunities waiting in the community garden. Gardening in Wilmington is important because many children and adults are fighting food insecurity in our community. The harvested vegetables will be distributed to those in the program and remaining veggies are delivered to the local food pantry as well as served in freshly prepared meals at the Good Shepherd. The non-profit organization Community Enrichment Initiatives, inc & Wilmington Green work towards providing opportunities for Wilmington community members to live healthy lives by providing fresh local grown vegetables and by providing recreational opportunities to all. The photo below includes a bed of sweet potatoes, planted by youth in the Elements program. The art work adds color to the garden and allowed for the youth to come together and make creative decisions. The garden has been a reflection of the community and has been a resource for many aspects of health and wellness.

Vote for this garden
5
votes

The Ferguson Middle School Learning Garden

Ferguson, MO, United States
5
votes

The Ferguson Middle School Learning Garden

Ferguson, MO, United States

In May 2016, Ferguson Middle School (FMS) constructed the Learning Garden to provide hands-on outdoors education to students. In August 2019, FMS and EarthDance, a Ferguson-based nonprofit organization, partnered to launch the Youth Exploring Agriculture & Health (YEAH!) After School Program to teach middle-schoolers about gardening, nutrition, and health. Each week, at least 10 7th and 8th graders explore topics related to sustainable agriculture and apply their knowledge in the Learning Garden, which contains approximately 30 beds, one high tunnel, one greenhouse, an aquaponics tower garden, chickens, a duck, and a rabbit.

The YEAH! After School Program prioritizes two goals:
— To promote positive health-related outcomes for Ferguson students and family members over the 2019-2020 school year, as evidenced by students’ heightened interest in gardening for lifetime wellness, fitness, and food security.
— To provide students with a pathway to success in their futures, including higher education and careers, through agricultural interest, skills, and experience.

As a city with a high rate of food insecurity, much of Ferguson lacks access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Seventy-five percent of Ferguson’s population are minorities and 77.5 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Of more than 600 students at FMS, 95 percent are minorities and 100 percent are eligible for free/reduced lunches. The After School Program addresses the community need for meaningful outdoor education for young people in Ferguson, exposure to healthy eating practices, and easy access to fresh produce. Additionally, urban youth may have little experience with agriculture and this garden provides interactive learning on-site.

The YEAH! After School Program provides the opportunity to develop a successful model for a school-to-farm partnership, through which students and families can engage with sustainable agriculture. A Nature’s Path Award would allow FMS to pay for the operating expenses associated with this opportunity, including supplies, equipment, and personnel costs.

Vote for this garden
21
votes

The Seven Generations Garden

Ferguson, MO, United States
21
votes

The Seven Generations Garden

Ferguson, MO, United States

Located in Ferguson, Missouri, EarthDance Organic Farm School grows food, farmers, and community through hands-on education and delicious experiences. Founded in 2008, EarthDance operates on the remaining 14-acres of the historic Mueller Organic Farm, founded in 1883. It is the oldest organic farm west of the Mississippi River. EarthDance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that uses the historic farmland to train aspiring farmers and teach people of all ages about the importance of organic agriculture.

In 2014, EarthDance developed its Seven Generations Garden, named for the inspiring concept that we should nurture the land to ensure it can provide food for seven generations into the future. The Garden is a showcase for home-scale growing techniques, to complement the commercial-scale agricultural training available in EarthDance’s production fields. For years, the Garden has been a favored space for youth tours and field trips due to the sensory, hands-on activities that it offers, such as picking sweet peppers off the vine, investigating compost, and exploring how herbs flavor our world. Thousands of youth have enjoyed the Garden over the years, including over 1,200 youth in 2018, through field trips, public tours, and volunteering.

Though the Garden has been used to educate youth, it was not designed for running feet, curious hands, or large groups. A Nature’s Path award will allow EarthDance to transform the Seven Generations Garden into a youth-driven garden. The design will showcase various methods for growing food, including wooden raised beds, a gourd tunnel, and a bean teepee; an interactive worm bin; wider walking paths, educational signage; and kid-friendly crop choices. The expanded growing area, larger paths, and youth-sized tools will enable EarthDance to enhance interactive tours, add more engaging service projects for the young volunteers, and further strengthen the instructional process.

For many children, a visit to EarthDance is their first time on a farm, tasting produce straight from the source, and digging into the importance of agriculture in their lives. The young people who visit EarthDance get excited to spend time outdoors, and students often ask their teachers if they can start a school garden. For young people and teachers who visit the farm from schools where a garden already exists, the visit inspires greater engagement. By introducing young people to the science and wonder of natural systems, these experiences in the Seven Generations Garden increase children’s curiosity and appreciation for the natural world.

Vote for this garden
296
votes

The YAM Project

Sudbury, ON, Canada
296
votes

The YAM Project

Sudbury, ON, Canada

Youth with experience planting regenerative gardens will work with other youth to develop and strengthen their skills and knowledge as leaders of new garden projects. A core group of Youth Agriculture Mentors (YAMs) originally developed the project while working and volunteering together with Sudbury Shared Harvest, a non-profit organization which led the establishment of Sudbury’s first community food forest in a municipal park. The Delki Dozzi Community Food Forest has become a site for environmental education, an outdoor communal space, as well as a source of locally grown food that is available to anyone in the community who wishes to pick it.
The original plan was to gradually expand the size of the food forest over a number of years, but public feedback led the project in a different direction. In 2019, Sudbury Shared Harvest collaborated with a high school and a neighbourhood association to create two much smaller food forests, or ‘edible forest gardens.’ It was out of these initiatives that the YAM project was born. Connecting with other local youth who are participating in food security initiatives in Sudbury, the core group of YAMs will mentor other youth to also take leadership roles in the project, delivering programs and activities related to permaculture-style gardens and environmental education in their schools and communities and for their peers. The project will use established gardens as outdoor classrooms, while creating several new gardens per year in the Sudbury area (originally conceived as focusing on the city of Sudbury, we have been approached by and are collaborating with youth in other nearby towns and First Nations).
Our short term goals include enhancing urban green spaces, bringing people together who do not normally work together, and fostering awareness about environmental stewardship within the community and for ourselves. Our long term goals include feeding and building outdoor community gardens to be enjoyed by future generations and empowering youth with the skills and knowledge to address the gaps within our food system that come from harmful agricultural practices. The project will aim to change the way that people think about growing food and how to have a healthy relationship with the land. Bringing the project into the hands of youth means that our youth today will be equipped with the capacity to ensure that these efforts will flourish in the years to come.

Vote for this garden
0
votes

Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI)

Alamosa, CO, United States
0
votes

Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI)

Alamosa, CO, United States

La Puente’s Valley Educational Gardens Initiative (VEGI) connects communities and partners across the rural San Luis Valley (SLV) in Colorado with garden-based educational opportunities and resources. VEGI programming encourages youth to make healthy choices, from seed to harvest; VEGI garden spaces cultivate nutrient-dense produce that benefits area households, local programs, and partner agencies.

Established in 1999, VEGI is a community-action based, nutrition education program. Last year, 1,596 youth were provided with nutrition and gardening education through a 10 week summer garden camp and classes in schools throughout the SLV. In addition, produce grown in VEGI’s gardens was given back to the community, including La Puente’s Alamosa Food Pantry, La Puente’s homeless shelter and soup kitchen, salad bars at the local school cafeterias, and numerous community members. Every year, over 2,000 lbs. of produce is grown and donated back into the community.

VEGI’s largest garden, Boyd Community Garden, was built on the site of an old elementary school over 15 years ago. It is open to the public and provides over 1,000 lbs of fresh produce to the community and those in need each year. The garden grows a variety of plants including greens, root vegetables, ancient grains, and brassicas. VEGI uses organic growing methods such as mulch, cover cropping, companion planting, and crop rotation. Over the years, VEGI has expanded Boyd Community Garden production by adding a hoop house, cold frame, worm bin, pallet compost system, and sample garden box for lessons. Four seasons ago, VEGI doubled the size of the garden to incorporate production into an old bus lot; now, our garden expands across a city block and brings in hundreds of volunteers each year to grow food as a community.

The SLV region VEGI serves has a rich culture and vibrant community, but also suffers from multi-generational poverty, economic struggles, and widespread food deserts. Support from the Gardens for Good program would allow VEGI to continue its mission: (1) to increase access to fresh, organic food for those in the SLV community who have limited access (2) to educate the SLV community about gardening and the benefits of fresh, nutritious food.

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Watts Healing Tech Garden- a program of CHG

Watts, Los Angeles , CA, United States
71
votes

Watts Healing Tech Garden- a program of CHG

Watts, Los Angeles , CA, United States

Community Healing Gardens (CHG) strengthens communities in need through urban gardening utilizing clean technology. We launched as a social experiment in June of 2015 to change the way we look at building community and our local food systems.

Our garden project; CHG’s Watts Healing Tech Garden works closely with the Los Angeles Clean Tech Incubator (LACI) building out the first-of-its-kind clean technology urban garden utilizing regenerative agriculture in Watts at a local public middle school featuring; Hands on STEAM education for our at risk youth (A for Agriculture), Clean Technology deployment, Culinary Arts Program, Afterschool Eco Club Program, Educational Adult Workshops, Community Engagement days and food grown is currently distributed and consumed by the Watts community.

Our program’s outcome is the first and only urban tech garden and orchard in the nation housed on the campus of a local (LAUSD) school, Edwin Markham Middle School. The property is one acre and has over 25 existing fruit trees.

We have an agreement with LAUSD as well to do this work at Markham.

Watts, Los Angeles is a known food desert, most live under the poverty line, gangs and drugs are the norm, obesity, heart disease and diabetes is rapid. Most of the students (700) that attend Edwin Markham Middle school (the only public middle school in Watts) eat their only meals of the day in school- breakfast and lunch which is marginal at best.

Here are some of our top goals:

*Improve health and provide access to locally grown fresh produce -non GMO grown in a regenerative method

*Better Academic Performance learning outside of four walls

*Provide a Clean and Safe Space that Encourages Active Community Engagement

*Train Students and Adults for Success in the growing fields of Urban Agriculture, Culinary Arts and Clean Technology

*Promote a Cleaner Environment reducing Green House Gases (GHG) for a healthier Watts

*Grow our Garden & Orchard along with Greenhouse

*Certify farm to give away food grown

*Food grown, harvested and given away for free at monthly Community Pop-ups in Watts

*Local jobs created for the Watts Healing Tech Garden

*STEAM (A for Agricutlure) learning for middle and high school youth we serve – the garden serves as a hands learning living lab classroom

To date;

over 5,000 lbs. of food grown and harvested

700 students grades 6-12 as we also have a HS intern program with the neighboring HS.

Over 1,000 volunteers

Thank you.

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PAST RECIPIENTS

Over the years we’ve awarded grants to 27 gardens across North America. Here are just a few examples of our previous winners and their inspiring garden projects.