Celebrating our Partnership to Grow 1,000 Gardens
Installing one garden can feel like a tremendous accomplishment – imagine installing 1,000! In 2011, Scott’s Miracle-Gro made it their goal to install 1,000 community garden and green spaces in the U.S., Canada, and Europe by 2018. This year they proudly reached the halfway mark, with partners’ KidsGardening.org, Franklin Park Botanic Garden and Conservatory, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Garden Writer’s Association, and Plant a Row for the Hungry there to celebrate the latest Scott’s Miracle-Gro Showcase Grant Winners. Four youth and community gardens in Hartford, Connecticut; Rochester, New York; Dallas, Texas; and Sacramento, California were each awarded a $40,000, three-year grant at a ceremonial event attended by their mayors and other local officials.
Julia Parker-Dickerson, KidsGardening.org’s Director of Education Programs, joined the team of dedicated organizations to provide essential horticultural education and youth garden information at these events through the Gro1000 Academy. Following each Academy presentation, KidsGardening.org hosted activities for youth and presented a Give Back to Gro Youth Gardener Award to selected students who have demonstrated an exceptional contribution and dedication to gardening.
Learn more about these inspiring Gro1000 Showcase Grant Award winners:
The La Bajada Urban Youth Farm
The La Bajada Urban Youth Farm’s purpose is to provide working-class neighbors with greater access to whole, healthy foods and educational opportunities for the next generation of gardeners. Designed by architecture students at the University of Texas, Arlington, this ambitious project has only recently broken ground with the creation of an athletics field. Future plans include a garden featuring raised beds and an outdoor classroom space. UTA students Aldo Guerra and Alma Espinoza accepted the Give Back to Gro Youth Garden Award for their exceptional contribution to the design behind the youth farm. As the garden is developed, it will allow economically disadvantaged youth to grow and prepare healthy food and learn horticultural, business, and economic skills. To kick off the growing season, students, community members, and even the mayor teamed up to throw seed bombs chock-full of perennial wildflowers! Learn more about the La Bajada Youth Farm.
Create seed balls for your youth garden.
5th and C Street Urban Farm
West Sacramento, California
Located on a quarter acre lot in Sacramento, the 5th and C Street Urban Farm was formerly the site of an abandoned gas station. Now a productive growing space, it produces over 7,500 pounds of produce that is sold or donated to the community. Working with community members and horticulture students from Leo A. Palmiter Junior/Senior High School, this urban farm program provides educational opportunities that have helped launch careers, as well as bring a better understanding of the importance of organic, locally produced fruits and vegetables to a community in need. This year’s Give Back to Gro recipient Michael Hagen, a high school senior, actively contributes to the 5th and C Street Farm and has recently acquired a job at a nursery. As part of the Grant Award ceremony, students, Scott’s employee volunteers, Raley’s grocery store employees, and KidsGardening.org teamed up to plant fruits and vegetables in this bountiful growing space.
Knox, Inc. is a thriving nonprofit organization in downtown Hartford, Connecticut that uses horticulture as a catalyst for community engagement to build greener, stronger, healthier, and more beautiful neighborhoods in the city. Located between senior housing and a freeway overpass, it provides horticulture education to youth and community members, manages community garden plot rentals, contributes to the beautification of neighborhoods, and is actively working to reestablish an urban forest. The community gardens alone serve over 300 families at 14 community garden sites. KidsGardening.org worked with Emily Petersen, Knox’s Community Gardens and Education manager, to help children transplant seedlings as a giveaway to community gardeners.
Rochester Urban Agricultural Garden and Training Center
Rochester, New York
The newly established Rochester Urban Agriculture Garden and Training Center, the result of a partnership between the City of Rochester and the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, has helped hundreds of students, teachers, and community members gain greater access to fresh, local foods. A network of gardens and gardeners has been connected through the Urban Agriculture Training Center, whose demonstration garden provides instruction to students and residents through lectures, hands-on trainings, and volunteer days. Community gardens located across the city give students and youth opportunities to participate in feeding their community and learning ways to green their local environment. Students Aunnah Jones and Gabriel Colon have made significant efforts in Rochester to transform attitudes and eating habits of their neighbors and peers. Aunnah Jones, a high school senior, spends her days working with younger children to make eating healthy more accessible through creative cooking classes. Aunnah can be seen enjoying a good book in the garden while waiting for program participants to attend one of her many cooking and nutrition educational sessions. Twelve year old Gabriel Colon actively participates in planting, maintenance, and care of gardens around Rochester. He is a very vocal environmental activist who hopes that his work in the garden will inspire others in his community to live healthier lives. Aunnah and Gabriel, together with KidsGardening.org and Scott’s Miracle-Gro volunteers, worked with preschool aged-students to create seed tapes so they can plant lettuce in their home gardens.