We were busy this spring! In addition to reorganizing as an independent nonprofit and redesigning our website, KidsGardening partnered in the installation of 5 youth gardens across the nation.
Most of these new gardens were part of the GRO1000 Initiative. Since 2011, KidsGardening has worked with Scott’s Miracle Gro, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Garden Writer’s Association Foundation, Plant A Row for the Hungry, and The U.S. Conference of Mayors to create 1,000 community gardens and green spaces across America by 2018. Our role in the events is to lead the youth activities and present The Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener Award to deserving youth who have shown dedication, hard work, and a passion for gardening to support their community. Today, GRO1000 Initiative has resulted in the installation of 790 gardens, impacted 64,150 youth, and planted 9,305 garden lots! Wow!
Here are a few stories from this year’s garden projects:
St. Louis, Missouri - GRO1000 Pollinator Gardens
On the banks of the Mississippi River, we worked with the Grow 1000 Team to install a Monarch Pollinator Garden, one of many on the city’s Monarch Highway in St. Louis. Close to 70 second and third graders from local schools attended the event to help plant, make butterfly feeders, and pollinator journals. The children learned about pollinators and the importance of pollination, and most importantly that they can help support the pollinator population in their own back yard. KidsGardening was proud to award the Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener Award to a group of enthusiastic students who helped build an 18-bed community garden space from the ground up, transforming a vacant lot into a local food source and also offering a native plant garden for pollinators.
Providence, Rhode Island - GRO1000 General Street Park Community Gardens
In the heart of Providence, a neighborhood full of passionate and energetic youth filled the park for gardening activities, planting, and to listen to local recycled percussionists. The GRO1000 Team hosted an Academy to educate community members about pollinators. We also organized plantings of blueberries, fruit trees and flowers. The Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener Award was given to the “Kids of General Street Park”, who took initiative and played a critical role in the design and the revitalization of the park to provide their community with a green space to spend their free time in.
East Harlem, New York, NY - GRO 1000 Pleasant Village Community Garden
The Pleasant Village Community Garden was truly a beautiful, secret garden nestled in urban New York. The garden, comprised of community raised beds, fruit trees, and a chicken coop grew where a building once stood. Gardeners used old brick for some of the pathways and there was still rubble in the corners. During the event, 100 kindergartener's joined us to learn about pollination by becoming pollinators! They made their own wings, antenna and searched for pollen (pom poms) in the garden to bring back to their hive! The youth also made seed balls, a ball of everything that a seed needs to grow (clay, seed, soil, and water)! The Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener Award Winner was a young girl with lots of spunk who was at the garden bright and early at 8:00am at the day of the event. She helped set up the youth activities, instructed the youth in making their antennas, and participated in the planting! We were all grateful to have spent the day with her and working so close with her made the award even more special.
Atlanta, Georgia - Gro1000 Covenant House
Another dream oasis in the middle of a city, The Covenant House is a community of youth with challenging backgrounds who are brought together to see their potential through support and optimism in a loving environment. The GRO1000 Team had a wonderful evening of Dreamscaping with the youth, designing a space to be developed right in their backyard. It was fun to see all the different ideas that they had! The following day we made mosquito repellent wristbands with parachute cord and essential oils and our Team was invited to participate in their graduation ceremony. The Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener award was given to a team of four who really showed passion and dedication to gardening. The GRO1000 team connected with the award winners and other youth in ways we never thought we would, all through gardening!
As this exceptional spring season comes to a close, we look forward to 2017, bringing us one year closer to the completion of GRO1000! If interested in applying for future opportunities, check out eligibility requirements at: http://scottsmiraclegro.com/gro1000/.