For decades, we’ve seen firsthand how gardens can be inspirational, safe spaces where youth can build community, gain a sense of place and learn skills that will last them a lifetime. We know that gardens are powerful spaces that can bring people together and provide opportunities for education, comfort and growth. That’s why, together with our partner The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, we’ve designed a program that will help connect more LGBTQ+ youth and allies to the empowering opportunities provided by hands-on garden programming. Our GroPride Garden Grants help provide monetary funding and peer learning opportunities to support the development of new gardens and the expansion of existing gardens that engage LGBTQ+ youth and allies.
The social and emotional benefits of gardening are particularly relevant to LGBTQ+ youth, who experience higher rates of trauma, stigma, and discrimination than their straight, cis-gender peers. Programs that provide opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth to spend more time outdoors, interacting with nature, are well poised to effectively strengthen community, foster empowerment, support positive identity, and address some of the challenges frequently experienced by the LGBTQ+ youth community.
Throughout the winter, we were on the look-out for organizations that are making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. After ongoing discussions, three incredible programs—all of whom expressed a dedication to the creation and expansion of garden-based learning opportunities—rose to the top and were selected as our inaugural GroPride Garden Grant winners. These organizations include:
Dykes with Drills in partnership with the Historic Rodgers Ranch Heritage Center in Lafayette, CA
“The goal of our program will be to teach LGBTQ youth how to safely use power tools to build garden beds and their own garden tool box and how to manage a garden to grow healthy food.” – Julie Peri, Founder/Director, Dykes with Drills*
Pride for Youth of the Long Island Crisis Center in Bellmore, NY
“The goals of the gardening program are to promote health and well-being, promote a sense of community, reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression, encourage creativity, encourage mindfulness and mental clarity, teach responsibility, and provide a sense of purpose. Youth will be in charge of the designs in the garden, allowing them space to creatively express their ideas.” – Aiden Kaplan, LGBTQ Services Manager, Long Island Crisis Center
The Walla Walla Valley Farm to School Program of the Sustainable Living Center in partnership with Triple Point Walla Walla in Walla Walla, WA
“We seek to gather stakeholder, community, and youth input to establish a sustainable-long term version and school garden support framework for LGBTQIA+ youth. The intention and plan are to engage and empower LGBTQIA+ youth in the planning and building of an accessible, safe garden space.” – Rey Cooley, Walla Walla Valley Farm to School Program Manager
And what better time than Pride Month to lift up the incredible work and vision of our GroPride Garden Grantees. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting each of these organizations on social media. We hope you’re just as excited and inspired by their garden projects as we are.
The GroPride Garden Grant builds on ScottsMiracle-Gro’s broader GroMoreGood commitment to connect 10 million kids to the benefits of gardening and outdoor play by 2023. Together, KidsGardening and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation award nearly 300 garden grants each year through the GroMoreGood Grassroots Grants Program, and our GroPride Grant is an extension of that program.
Learn more about our GroMoreGood Grassroots Grants.
*From the Dykes with Drills website: “We call ourselves Dykes With Drills. By using the word “dyke”, we reclaim it from its history of oppression and exclusion. By using drills and other tools, we build communities of diversity and inclusion. Our community includes people of all sexualities and genders, including those who are non-conforming, transgender, and allies.”