Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are core to KidsGardening’s mission of creating opportunities for all kids to play, learn, and grow in a garden. We know that the families, educators, and children that we serve live within systems of oppression in their daily lives, and educational spaces and gardens are no exception.

Our Commitments

KidsGardening acknowledges the many existing inequities in education as a whole and garden-based education specifically. And we know that as an organization, we still have a great deal of work to do. We are committed to doing this work.

In 2021, KidsGardening set an organizational goal to increase diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility (DEIA) in the services we offer and how these services are offered to our community. We remain committed to this goal.

To hold the organization accountable, KidsGardening established a DEIA committee of 3 staff members and one board member. This committee meets regularly to oversee progress toward these goals.

Our DEIA understanding and work are ever-evolving. We wish to be transparent about this process, and so, below you can find our commitments:

  • Commitment 1: Understand who we reach and serve
  • Commitment 2: Improve the accessibility of our work
  • Commitment 3: Fund youth garden programs that need it most
  • Commitment 4: Prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within our educational content and leverage our platform to give an equitable voice to all communities in the youth gardening movement
  • Commitment 5: Educate the KidsGardening staff and Board on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility
  • Commitment 6: Diversify the KidsGardening Board of Directors

Commitment 1: Understand who we reach and serve

Understanding the identities of our constituents, the needs in their communities, and how we can help them meet their goals is integral to our work.

Our Progress in 2022:

  • We asked for demographic information in our audience survey, grant applications, and Kids Garden Community
  • 22.5% of our audience survey identify as people of color
  • 21.5% of our Kids Garden Community members identify as people of color

Action Items for 2023:

  • Increase the diversity of our audience identifying as people of color by 5%, from 22.5% to 27.5%, by investing in creating content that is relevant to and representative of folks of color.
  • Continue to ask demographic questions to measure our progress, understand the diversity of our audience, and aggregate data to see if there are differences in the needs of the different communities we serve.
  • Add biracial and multiracial to our demographic questions.
  • Establish a Kids Garden Community leadership group, diverse in strengths, experiences, geographic locations, and race, to determine how to improve the Kids Garden Community.
  • Encouraging the use of pronouns in member profiles and discussions in the Kids Garden Community.
  • Increase the diversity of community membership and support leaders of color.

Commitment 2: Improve the Accessibility of our Work

At KidsGardening, we reach a diverse audience, and it is important our grants, content, and work are accessible to all. This includes offering resources in multiple languages, improving the accessibility of our website, and reducing grant application barriers.

Our Progress in 2022:

  • We added a Google Translate feature to our KidsGardening website.
  • We launched a new “Siembra con Niños” page on our website that houses educational resources in Spanish. This section includes our most popular resources.
  • We significantly shortened our grantee year-end report to accommodate those with limited resources for grant administration.
  • We switched our grant application platform from LimeSurvey to JotForm because of technical issues to make it easier to use.
  • We hosted a three-part Grant Funding Webinar Series and added three new resources to our grant application support page on our website to aid prospective applicants.
  • We continued to revise our grant application to make it easier to understand.
  • We added a brief eligibility quiz at the beginning of the grant application to ensure programs don’t spend time applying if they are not eligible.
  • Starting with our 2023 Youth Garden Grant, we now accept and promote grant applications in both English and Spanish.
  • We released the Growing School Food Gardens Toolkit in both English and Spanish.

Action Items for 2023:

  • Offer remaining 2023 grant opportunities in English and Spanish (April 2023).
  • Added a new accessibility feature to the KidsGardening website (January 2023).
  • The redesign of the Kids Garden Community layout will utilize text/color accessibility best practices.
  • Offered a bilingual webinar as part of the Culturally Inclusive Teaching in the Garden series “Fostering
  • Hispanic, Latinx and Spanish Origin Culture in Youth Gardens”. (April 2023)
  • Explore new grant platforms and ways to complete grant applications beyond writing, such as audio and video.
  • Translate more KidsGardening curriculum resources into Spanish.
  • Host the Grant Funding Webinar Series again in August to create additional resources and update relevant webinar links. Translate these resources into Spanish.
  • Revisit our grant application to remove unnecessary questions and create uniformity across each grant opportunity for the 2024 grant cycle.

Commitment 3: Fund Youth Garden Programs That Need it Most

We are committed to prioritizing programs that are under-resourced due to systemic injustices and/or would be significantly impacted by increased funding due to challenges they are facing. We want our grant funding to reach gardening programs led by communities that are meeting the needs of youth in their communities.

Our Progress in 2022:

  • When we launched our 2022 GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, we included three new specialty award categories: Plus, Pride, and Equity.
    • The Plus Specialty Award funds programs that experience greater needs based on financial, environmental, safety, health, and regulation challenges.
    • The Pride Specialty Award funds programs that serve a majority of LGBTQ+ youth.
    • The Equity Specialty Award funds programs led by people of color that serve a majority of youth of color.
  • KidsGardening staff and board met to begin our strategic planning work for 2023 - 2025. We discussed all aspects of our work, including our grant programs and funding priorities, and we set the following grants-related goal:
    • By December 31, 2025, KidsGardening is working with peers to collaboratively award more than 1,000 grants annually. One hundred percent of grants are awarded to under-resourced communities
  • We correlated grant applicant demographic information, total application score, and the per-question scores to see if there was evaluation bias for any of our 2022 grants. No bias was found for any of the grant programs.

Action Items for 2023:

  • Update our grant funding priorities and grant eligibility screener to match KidsGardening’s 2023 - 2025 strategic plan.
  • Expand our funding opportunities specifically for programs experiencing systemic injustice.
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Commitment 4: Prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility within our educational content and leverage our platform to give an equitable voice to all communities in the youth gardening movement

KidsGardening creates high-quality original educational content. We want to make sure that this content is accessible and inclusive of diverse experiences, voices, and cultures. We use this content as an opportunity to celebrate diversity and work toward equity.

We know that kids thrive when the books, media, lessons, etc. they are exposed to have windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors: windows to see the lives of others and mirrors to see themselves reflected. “Sliding glass doors” describes how children can use their imagination to walk right into the world created by an author or artist.

Our Progress in 2022:

We continued to publish Garden Stories interviews aimed to uplift the work of others and celebrate diverse representations in the garden community.

We continued to review current resources to see how they can be improved in regard to diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or accessibility. New content created will go through an equity screen, as it is copyedited.

We hosted a free two-part webinar series, Applying Antiracism and Abolitionist Teaching in the Garden, which aimed to support educators in applying these principles within their teaching and student learning.

In September 2022, KidsGardening honored National Hispanic Heritage Month with the launch of the “Siembra con Niños” section of resources in Spanish, as well as several new resources celebrating Hispanic heritage and encouraging cultural celebration in garden education: Creating with Chocolate, Exploring the Flavors of your Community, and Celebrating the Heritage of Hispanic Foods.

In October 2022, we hosted the webinar Principles and Practices of Garden Education: Serving Latina/o/x Students and Communities to address how to engage students and communities using gardens as regenerative spaces.

Action Items for 2023:

We will prioritize increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and incorporating these principles throughout all of our content work.

Starting in February 2023, we began hosting a six-part webinar series, Culturally Inclusive Teaching in the Garden, sponsored in part by the Clif Family Foundation. The series delves deep into the significance of culture as it relates to food and gardens and also as it relates to the diverse populations with whom we work.

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Commitment 5: Educate the KidsGardening staff and Board on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility

KidsGardening knows there will always more we can learn to increase the diversity of who we serve, ensure that the structures we have in place are equitable and that our work reflects the many communities we serve. We understand that our education around DEIA is an ongoing journey and will never be complete.

We are committed to allocating money in our budget for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility trainings for KidsGardening staff and board on an annual basis.

Our Progress in 2022:

  • Three times a month, we set aside staff meeting time to reflect on a DEIA resource, webinar, or topic that we all read or participated in the week prior.
  • We engaged in DEIA training with Justice Outside, learning about the “Fundamentals of Equity and Inclusion,” “Curriculum Development and Program Delivery,” and “Community Outreach and Communications.”
  • We participated in the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge hosted by Food Solutions New England.
  • We participated in the Farm to School Racial Equity Training from The Center for Environmental Farming Systems, a partnership of North Carolina State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Action Items for 2023:

  • KidsGardening staff and board members will attend trainings on transgender and non-binary identities, nutrition messages, and disabilities.
  • KidsGardening will once again participate in the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.
  • Staff will continue weekly discussions on DEIA topics.
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Commitment 6: Diversify the KidsGardening Board of Directors

KidsGardening recognizes the need for a Board of Directors whose members have learned from direct experience in the communities we reach and serve. We seek Board members with deep personal and professional experience, strong networks, and a passion for garden-based learning.

Our Progress in 2022:

In 2022, KidsGardening’s board grew more geographically, racially, and professionally diverse to more accurately reflect the communities we reach and serve.

Next Steps:

  • Continue to develop the board in a way that reflects and benefits the communities we reach and serve.

This statement was last edited: June 7, 2023.

View Previous year's commitments

View our diversity and equity-related commitments from 2021/2022. 

Culturally Inclusive Teaching in the Garden

Garden education is increasingly recognized as an interdisciplinary approach that integrates academic goals, health and wellness, place-based education, and community connections and relationships.

To validate and celebrate the interests and experiences of our students, we will delve deep into the significance of culture as it relates to food and gardens and also as it relates to the diverse populations with whom we work.

Strengthening Equity and Inclusion in Garden Education

The resources on this page have been shared by SGSO Network members, and collectively curated by participants in the 2021 National SGSO Leadership Institute.