Planting it Forward
At Nature’s Path, we think your neighborhood is ripe with possibility. That’s why we plant the seeds for success through our annual Gardens for Good grant program, now entering its 5th year. Sprouting from our previous community garden initiatives, Gardens for Good encourages others to provide accessible, healthy, organic food to their communities. Each year, we award three $15,000 grants to deserving nonprofits with organic garden projects. If you’re a nonprofit with a passion for feeding your community, we invite you apply.
As our founder and CEO, Arran Stephens, puts it: “Our goal is to plant it forward. By providing access to healthy, organic food and the education needed to grow it, we hope to encourage and cultivate socially responsible community leaders who will bring people together to feed those in need.”
Plant: Sow the seed by submitting your application, which includes a 500 word essay. Share your project’s vision. Describe your community’s need for organic food. Tell us how you’ll make it happen. Applications are open from 12:00 am PT June 9th 2014 to 11:59 am PT June 22nd 2014. Once the window for applications closes, it’s time to rally your community for two weeks of online voting!
Grow: Cultivate support by sharing across your social networks. Where the gardens bloom is left up to the people – passionate community members and organizations are encouraged to visit our Facebook and vote between 12:00 pm PT June 22rd 2014 and 11:59 pm PT July 6th 2014. From the nine organizations (six U.S. and three Canadian) that receive the most public votes, Nature’s Path will choose three winners based on the strength of the applications (two in the U.S. and one in Canada) to become the recipients of a $15,000 cash grant from Nature’s Path as well as technical design and production mentorship provided by Organic Gardening magazine.
Bloom: Share the fruits of your labor and activate your community to support urban agriculture. Organic Gardening magazine will help you implement your plan, and Nature’s Path will be there to help you flourish.
Anyone can plant a seed, but a community can help it grow. What’s your organic garden vision? Share your commitment to feeding your community, and tell us how you’ll change the world – we’d love to help. We welcome you to get to know the winners from the last four years and encourage you to put forward your own application here - before June 22nd, 2014!
We are constantly inspired by the incredible organizations that have won our Gardens for Good grants in the past. They are making big change in their local communities, and it is a true privilege to support them and further their work. Each of these remarkable organizations shares our vision to provide organic food for those who might not have access to it, and we are honored to have them as partners on the path towards leaving the earth better than we found it.
The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative: Thanks to their green-thumbed dedication, vacant lots in Detroit’s inner city are going from community liability to asset as produce-packed urban farms that empower urban residents and provide fresh, healthy fare to those most in need. With the Gardens for Good Grant, they’ve been able to outfit their community resource center with new windows and secure roof, and begin major renovations required to get urban agriculture spaces up and running.
Tri-Isle Resource Conservation & Development Council, Inc: Serving residents on the island of Maui, this organization is building a community around food self-sufficiency through educational outreach and garden space. Their Goodwill Garden grows for food banks to provide fresher, more nutritious food to communities that need it most. With the Gardens for Good Grant, they are growing the Goodwill Garden and assisting other programs to provide better nutrition to the hungry and homeless of Maui.
rare Charitable Research Reserve: This 900+ acre reserve in Cambridge, Ontario aims to protect the unique landscape and engage the community in nature. The gardens provide a large natural area for citizens of all ages to get active through gardening and grow their own healthy, sustainable food. The Food Bank Garden allows them to give fresh, organic produce directly to those in the community who need it most. With the Gardens for Good Grant, they’ve been able to improve the gardens by standardizing field sizes for easier crop rotation, and expanding irrigation into the new Food Bank Garden.
AVAIL: Friends of the Houseless: With its 48 raised garden boxes on a one-acre farm in Birmingham, Alabama, AVAIL Urban Farms grows food for meal sharing in the houseless community and for local farmer’s markets and grocers. Since 2011, AVAIL has grown and harvested 16 varieties of produce. With the Gardens for Good Grant, AVAIL is expanding Urban Farms to additional locations with the hope of serving more people while continuing to bring positive change on the streets of Birmingham.
South Kensington Community Partners: This hyper-local organization works to strengthen and revitalize Philadelphia’s South/Olde Kensington neighborhood. From urban farms to farm stands with below market rates to local food bank donations, their community gardens bring healthy food to those in need. With the Gardens for Good Grant, they’ve been able to start of a South Kensington Youth Garden Corps (SKY GC), which provides training, workshops, and employment to local adolescents who assist with neighborhood garden maintenance.
The Table Community Garden (formerly Perth and District Food Bank): Having provided emergency food access in low-income communities in Perth, Ontario has provided emergency food access to its low-income community for 15 years. With the mission of increasing access to healthy food in a way that maintains dignity, builds community and challenges inequality, the organization provides community meals, cooking and gardening classes and peer advocacy. The Gardens for Good Grant will contribute to an 8000-square-foot organic fruit and vegetable garden and to teaching gardening and food growing to low income community members, including demonstrating the use of environmentally-sustainable practices, such as rainwater harvesting, bicycle technology, and composting.
CAPI: Focused on social justice and anti-poverty initiatives among immigrants and refugees the Minneapolis-based organization supports food sovereignty in many different ways, from providing gardening tools and supplies to securing community garden site permissions and assisting residents in preparing for planting. With the Gardens for Good Grant, CAPI is building new gardens in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and make improvements to existing gardens.
GroW Gardens: This volunteer-led program at Washington D.C.’s George Washington University shares garden harvests with Miriam’s Kitchen, a social service agency that provides nutritious meals, case management, and art therapy to local homeless and at-risk citizens. With the Gardens for Good Grant they’re enhancing existing garden infrastructure and expand the project to other sites, maximizing yields and serving more people.
The Hamilton Community Garden Network (HCGN): A vibrant but small group of committed garden enthusiasts, the HCGN provides an array of support to emerging and established community gardens in Hamilton, Ontario. With the Gardens for Good Grant, they’re funding Oliver’s Garden Project, a program that provides individual citizens with the knowledge and resources needed to share organic produce from their backyard with the wider community.
Vallejo People’s Garden: This community coalition grew out of hard times following the closure of the Californian city’s Naval Shipyard and the enduring economic struggle. The Gardens for Good grant allowed the coalition to create a “People’s Garden” which provides fresh organic produce for the area’s homeless and needy and serves the people of Vallejo as an outdoor classroom and community hub for all ages.
The Damayan Garden Project: Their mission is to promote sustainable, local food production and sow the seeds of healthy living and ecological awareness through hands-on gardening activities. With the Gardens for Good Grant, the organization built a garden that contributes to local food drives, teaches children where food comes from, inspires enthusiasm about healthy eating, re-establishes a lacking sense of community, and encourages people to take control of what they eat.
Sole Food Street Farms: Born from a desire to create jobs in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, Sole Food’s good food revolution creates livelihoods for low income residents growing food and selling to local restaurants and farmers markets. With the Gardens for Good grant, they installed vertical growing systems for strawberries, essentially doubling their space.