We are aware we have a great deal of work still to do to address existing inequities in youth gardening and youth development, and we are committed to action forward together.
KidsGardening has set an organizational goal for 2021 to increase diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility in the services we offer and how these services are offered to our community. To hold the organization accountable, KidsGardening formed an internal DEIA staff committee that meets regularly to oversee progress toward these goals.
As we are evolving in our DEIA work, we will be updating and adding to this list of commitments. We look forward to sharing our progress with you.
Commitment 1: Understand who we reach and serve
We want to better understand who we reach and serve with our grants, contests, and educational content. We are revising our grant applications to learn more about the program leaders, communities, and kids served. In our annual audience survey, we will now ask demographic questions to have a better understanding of the families and educators that use our educational resources.
We began gathering this data in the summer of 2021, and will continue through the 2022 grant cycle. After a full year of data, we will know better who we are reaching and where we need to make improvements and outreach. We will aggregate the data to see if there are differences in the needs of different communities we serve.
Commitment 2: Revising our Grant Application Process
We are committed to ensuring that our grant application process is accessible to all individuals.
Grant applications have undergone significant revision to improve access and remove bias. Additionally, grant application support resources have been created to our website to aid prospective applicants. We will continually revisit our applications and materials over time to best support our diverse audience.
Commitment 3: Prioritizing Under-Resourced Programs During Grant Evaluation
We are clarifying our definition of “need” for use in evaluating grant applications. We want to ensure that grant funding reaches gardening programs led by communities meeting the needs of youth in their communities.
Moving forward KidsGardening will explicitly share the factors we use to determine need during the grant evaluation process:
- Socioeconomic & Sociodemographic Factors: Does the program exist within or engage a historically under-resourced community (i.e. one that has systematically been denied resources, whether they be physical assets and money or representative leadership and community services)?
- Program Funding and Support: Does a program have access to consistent substantial monetary support and/or prior grant funding or are pre-existing resources (monetary or otherwise) limited? Programs experiencing the latter are considered of higher need.
- Impact: Will grant funding dramatically expand learning opportunities for program participants? Does the intended impact reflect the true needs of the community?
Commitment 4: Inclusive educational content
KidsGardening creates high-quality original educational content. We want to make sure that our educational content is inclusive and represents diverse experiences, voices, and cultures. We know that kids thrive when the books, media, lessons, etc. they are exposed to has windows and mirrors: windows to see the lives of others, and mirrors to see themselves reflected.
We’re reviewing older content to see if we should make changes. New content created will go through an equity screen, just as it is copyedited.
Commitment 5: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility training and continuing education
Like many organizations and people, KidsGardening as an organization and as individual staff members felt like there was more we could be doing to increase the diversity of who we serve, ensure that the structures we have in place are equitable, and that our educational resources reflect the many communities we serve.
In 2020, all KidsGardening staff took a multisession DEIA training led by an experienced facilitator. Board members that were unable to attend were given a summary of the training by staff. We will include funding for DEIA training in our annual budget. We also have weekly staff discussions based on readings, webinars, videos, or reports relating DEIA topics to education, gardening, the outdoors, and more.
This statement was last edited: Aug 2, 2021
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.