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2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grant Winners

gro more good program spotlightTo welcome the start of the gardening season, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening announced last week the recipients of the 2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grants. 175 school and nonprofit organizations across the United States were awarded funding to create or enhance their youth garden programs, which serve more than 75,400 children.

“Our local communities, and especially our children, need the positive benefits that gardening and being in nature can provide. Right now, it’s especially important given the unprecedented school closures as communities look to slow the spread of COVID-19, ” said Jim King, president of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation. “We know our Gro More Good Grassroots Grantees are on the front lines in their communities, doing critical work to connect kids to healthy food. It’s our responsibility to support their important work.”

The Grassroots Grants are part of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s larger Gro More Good initiative, which aims to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens and greenspaces to 10 million children by 2023. As part of Gro More Good, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is partnering with leading nonprofit organizations, such as KidsGardening, to get more kids outside and connected to the positive benefits of outdoor play and gardening, such as increased consumption of fresh food, increased physical activity and better social connectedness.

The 2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grants support local community garden and greenspace projects that directly engage youth. From school gardens designed to enhance academic learning to community gardens inspiring food system change, this year’s Gro More Good Grassroots Grantees are making a positive impact in the lives of the children they serve. Some highlights from this year’s list of grantees include:

Glendale Commons Community Garden, Phoenix Community Development Services, Peoria, IL
Helping formerly homeless families build the skills needed for a healthy and more stable life, Phoenix Community Development Services is partnering with their local Junior League to establish a community garden on a vacant lot adjacent to Glendale Commons Housing Complex. Children attend weekly sessions in the garden learning how to grow fruits and vegetables and then they use the harvest in their Kids in the Kitchen program to turn their fruits and vegetables into nutritious meals and snacks. The goal is not only to increase youth access to healthy foods in the short term, but also to provide them with the skills to improve eating behaviors and empower them with the knowledge to grow their own food into the future.

The John C. Holmgreen Center School Garden, Northside Independent School District, San Antonio, TX
Comprised of students enrolled in special education programs and whose life circumstances makes it difficult for them to succeed academically, behaviorally, and socially on their regular school campuses, the garden at the Holmgreen Center will provide opportunities for experiential and social/emotional learning, as well as access to healthy food. With over two-thirds of students considered at-risk, the program will focus on the therapeutic benefits of gardening and be used to help students with the development of skills in teamwork and behavior management that will help them to return to their home campuses. The garden will be fully incorporated into the curriculum and mental health initiatives of the school.

Bee Kind Community Garden, Salmon Valley Stewardship, Salmon, ID
The Bee Kind Community Garden brings youth and adults together to develop a pollinator habitat pathway to teach about the importance of pollinator friendly landscapes and the part they play in protecting our food systems. In partnership with a diverse group of community partners, the garden will teach participating youth and the whole community about the services that pollinators provide and offer a variety of hands-on learning opportunities and experiences.

Community Action Programs Cayuga/Seneca Early Childhood Garden, Auburn, NY
Community Action Programs Cayuga/Seneca is expanding its Early Head Start/Head Start garden to increase opportunities for hands-on, inquiry-based learning into their academic curriculum while also teaching children and their families about food production and nutrition, including how to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables at home. The garden will support the organization in reaching the goal of making sure every child is mentally, physically and emotionally ready for school and also provide meaningful parent engagement activities. Through the program, educators hope to teach students how to be stewards of their environment and support families in adopting healthier dietary behaviors.

“We are so impressed by the amazing work being done by this year’s Gro More Good Grassroots Grantees,” said Rachel Stein, executive director of KidsGardening. “KidsGardening strongly believes there is a critical need to support these programs and the work they are doing to get more children into the garden, growing healthy food, and having positive experiences with the natural world.”

"We are growing strong! We are also practicing physical distancing as we are sharing more food than ever during this time of critical need,” said Elizabeth Dry, Promise of Peace Community Gardens, in Dallas, Texas. “This funding will help us tremendously."

A full list of the 2020 Gro More Good Grassroots Grantees, along with more program information, is available here.

For more information on The  Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation’s Gro More Good initiative, visit www.GroMoreGood.org.