This year we kicked off our 3rd Annual Gardens for Good Grant program, as part our long-standing commitment to urban agriculture that aims to empower communities to take action and grow organically where they live.
We were fortunate to receive 137 outstanding entries from non-profit organizations, all across North America, that are making an impact at the local level. The winners were among 6 other finalists who earned the most public support by way of online votes, and were ultimately selected based on the compelling, empowering and inspirational nature in which they described their organic garden project; the feasibility to establish and maintain the garden; and demonstrated community need.
The three deserving non-profit organizations that are recipients of the grants are AVAIL: Friends of the Houseless in Birmingham, Alabama, South Kensington Community Partners in Philadelphia and Perth and District Food Bank in Perth, Ontario.
“We are so inspired by these incredible organizations that are making big impacts on their local communities, and it is a true privilege to be able to support them and help further their work,” says our CEO and Co-Founder Arran Stephens. “They share our vision to provide organic food for those who might not have access to it, and we are honored to be able to walk the path toward making positive change in the world together.”
The winning organizations will each receive a $15,000 cash grant for their community garden project, technical design and production mentorship provided by Organic Gardening magazine and a donation of Nature’s Path products to help fill the pantries of a local food bank.
About the Winners
AVAIL: Friends of the Houseless serves to meet the needs of the houseless community of Birmingham, Alabama. With its 48 raised garden boxes on a one-acre farm, 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 will expand the Urban Farms to additional locations with the hope of serving more people while continuing to bring about positive change on the streets of Birmingham.
South Kensington Community Partners is a hyper-local organization serving Philadelphia’s South/Olde Kensington neighborhood, working to strengthen and revitalize the community and private gardens. Three main community gardens include La Finquita, a newly revamped urban farm which recently started the neighborhood’s first farm stand (where items are sold below market rate and even given away); Cohocksink, which donates a portion of their produce to a local food bank; and Tillmon, which was originally created as part of a low-income housing development. The Gardens for Good Grant will fund the start of a South Kensington Youth Garden Corps (SKY GC), which will provide training, educational workshops and employment to local adolescents to assist with neighborhood garden maintenance.
Perth and District Food Bank 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.