According to the National Community Garden Association, there are currently more than 20,000 community gardens in the U.S., up from only 6,020 in 1996. Community gardens are popular for a variety of reasons. Those that produce food give people peace of mind about the safety of their food as well help save on food bills. Gardens focused on flowers, bushes, and trees create beautiful centerpieces for neighborhoods to be proud of. Community gardens can also be an economic boon to a community, taking a rundown area or environmentally unsafe land and creating a useful, safe area for all to enjoy.
There are several grants available to communities hoping to create or enhance a community garden. Below are a few we selected to highlight.
Communities with established gardens as well as those communities hoping to create gardens should apply for Seed grants. The organization will fund a wide range of activities, including materials and supplies for gardens, outreach materials to encourage volunteers, and more. The grant cannot be used acquisition of land. There is no deadline for this fund. A maximum amount is not stated, but the example budgets shows a $1,500 application. This fund also has Grow grants, which support only already established community gardens. Groups eligible for this grant must have over one year of experience running the community project. The next deadline for the Grow grants is Sept. 15.
Municipalities would need to partner with a non-profit organization to apply for a $5,000 Community Impact Grant from the Home Depot Foundation. Grants are given to help volunteers improve the physical health of their community. Proposals for planting trees or creating community gardens are highly considered. Grants come in the form of Home Depot cards in order to purchase materials, tools, or services. Deadline for application is Aug. 15.
Community garden organizers interested in starting or expanding their gardens can apply for grants from The Sow it Forward organization. Gardens must be of a general benefit to the overall community. The 2014 grant cycle is already closed. However, the program is already accepting applications for 2015. This program offers full grants as well as partial grants. The full grants have a value of $500 and include cash, gift card, seeds, an online garden planner subscription, and a gardening magazine subscription.
Municipalities and non-profit organizations can use this USDA grant program to start or enhance community gardens. The primary goals of the program is to increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities, meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, and provide equipment for the operation of a project. Community food projects (max $300,000 for 3 years), planning projects (max $25,000), and training/assistance (max $500,000 for 3 years) were included in the 2014 program, whose deadline has already passed. It is expected the deadline for 2015 will be March.
The Grant Helpers are here to help you meet your needs. Our services are completely customizable to your needs. Contact us today and our municipality expert, Rebecca Motley, will walk you through the process. And remember, the first consultation is always free.