KidsGardening acknowledges the many existing inequities in garden-based education and youth development. As an organization, we still have a great deal of work to do and are committed to action.
KidsGardening set an organizational goal for 2021 to increase diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility (DEIA) in the services we offer and how these services are offered to our community. We are committed to furthering this goal throughout 2022 and beyond.
To hold the organization accountable, KidsGardening formed 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 is evolving, we will update and add to this list of commitments, progress, and next steps regularly.
Commitment 1: Diversify who we reach and serve
Understanding our constituents, the needs in their communities, and how we can help them meet their goals is integral to our work.
Our goal in 2021 was to better understand who we reach and serve. We revised our audience survey and grant applications and added an optional demographic question to the Kids Garden Community member profile. As of March 2022, we have been collecting demographic data on our audience for one year.
After collecting a full year of data, we know better who we are reaching, and where we need to make improvements and outreach.
- Aggregate demographic data to see if there are differences in the needs of the different communities we serve.
- Increase the diversity of our audience identifying as people of color by 5%, from 24% to 29% in our 2022 audience survey. We plan to accomplish this by investing in creating content that is relevant to and representative of folks of color.
- Continue to ask demographic questions to measure our progress.
- Use the demographic data collected across all of our programs to understand the diversity of our audience.
Commitment 2: Improve the Accessibility of our Grant Program
We are committed to creating a grant application process that is accessible to all individuals.
Our grant application went through a significant revision in the summer of 2021 where we simplified the structure of the questions. We added information about the average number of applicants, funding priorities, and grantee requirements to the website. Additionally, grant application support resources were added to our website to aid prospective applicants.
In January, February, and March 2022, we looked for application evaluation bias by correlating applicant demographic information, total application score, and the per-question score. No bias was found for any of the grants reviewed.
In March 2022, we significantly revised our grantee year-end report and reduced the number of questions from 35 to 9.
- In June 2022, launch the Little Seed Kids Pollinator Pals Grant with our accessibility improvements.
- Revisit our grant application to remove unnecessary questions and create uniformity across each grant opportunity for the 2023 grant cycle.
- Explore new grant platforms to improve the accessibility of the grant application and include ways to complete the application beyond writing, such as through audio and video.
- Continue to update our application, support materials, and website information to best support our diverse audience.
Commitment 3: Prioritizing Funding 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 an increase in 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.
In the summer of 2021, we determined the following funding priorities:
- Socioeconomic & Sociodemographic Factors: Does the program exist within or engage a community 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?
To learn more about program need we added two new questions to the application in September 2021. First, we added a question on the identities of the youth participating in the program. Second, we added a question asking about the needs and challenges of the direct participants and their general community.
In November 2021, we updated our evaluation rubric to reflect the new application questions, and with the changes, 33% of our grant evaluation is now based on equity and need.
In January 2022, as part of our GroMoreGood Grassroots Grant, in partnership with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, we announced the following specialty award categories:
- 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.
- Continue to prioritize awarding funding based on need and equity.
- Expand our funding opportunities specifically for programs experiencing the challenges of systemic injustice.
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 will 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 and mirrors: windows to see the lives of others, and mirrors to see themselves reflected.
In September 2021, we launched a new feature, “Garden Stories.” These interviews are aimed to uplift the work of others and celebrate diverse representations in the garden community.
In February and March 2022, we hosted a 2-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. Part one focused on defining what abolitionist teaching means and identifying ways that antiracism can be centered in planning, instruction, and assessment. Part two dove into what abolitionist garden-based education looks like in practice and highlighted effective strategies for programmatic and organizational change. These events were donation-based in order to ensure they were accessible to all.
- Our 2022 content goals prioritize increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and incorporating these principles throughout all of our work.
- 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: Expand our work in Spanish and other languages
Many of the students served by our audience use Spanish as a primary language. We strive to create content that best serves the needs of our audience and want to ensure that we have resources available in Spanish and other languages.
In November 2021, we conducted a survey to evaluate what Spanish resources are needed by our audience and to learn how we can better serve the Spanish-speaking community.
In Feburary 2022, we added a Google Translate feature to our entire website.
In March 2022, we launched a new “Siembra con Niños” page on our website that will house educational resources in Spanish.
- We are using funds raised in the spring of 2022 to translate our educational materials, including lessons, activities, and worksheets, into Spanish.
- For our 2023 Youth Garden Grant, applicants will be able to apply in Spanish. We will also promote the program and provide grant assistance in Spanish.
Commitment 6: Continue education on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for the KidsGardening board and staff
KidsGardening knows there is more we can be learning 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. We understand that our education around DEIA is an ongoing journey and will never be complete.
In late 2020, the KidsGardening staff started weekly staff discussions based on readings, webinars, videos, or reports relating to DEIA topics in education, horticulture, environmentalism, agriculture and food systems, policy, socio-cultural topics, and more.
In 2021, KidsGardening staff and Board a multisession DEIA training led by experienced trainer, Liza Talusan. Board members that were unable to attend were given a summary of the training by staff. In 2022 and beyond, DEIA training is required for all staff and Board. We will include funding for DEIA training in our annual budget.
In early 2022, the entire KidsGardening team participated in mandatory DEIA trainings with Justice Outside. Our board dove into “Fundamentals of Equity and Inclusion” while our staff engaged in “Curriculum Development and Program Delivery” as well as “Community Outreach and Communications.”
- We are committed to allocating funding each year for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility trainings for KidsGardening staff and board.
- Continue weekly staff discussions on DEIA topics.
Commitment 7: Diversify the KidsGardening Board
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.
In 2021, KidsGardening’s board grew to be more geographically, racially, and professionally diverse to more accurately reflect the communities we reach and serve.
Continue to develop the board in a way that reflects and benefits the communities we reach and serve.
This statement was last edited: June 8, 2022
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.