Community garden grant applications due Jan. 15
With holiday activities finished, Kansas communities are urged to begin planning spring and summer gardens--and to apply for a Kansas Community Garden Grant.
Grants up to $5,000 grants are available by the Kansas Health Foundation, in cooperation with K-State Research and Extension, which administers the grant effort.
The garden grant program was introduced in 2012 to encourage gardening as a healthy physical activity and to teach garden skills while encouraging gardeners of all ages to learn more about how to grow health-promoting fruits and vegetables and incorporate them into meals and snacks.
Evelyn Neier, a horticulturist and K-State Research and Extension 4-H youth gardening specialist serves as state coordinator for the garden grants. She said 24 successful 2012 grant recipients requested funding to meet a variety of needs in establishing new community gardens, including:
--Installation of water wells and irrigation lines;
--Construction of a shed for equipment and tools; and
--Miscellaneous start-up expenses.
For example, many grant recipients also funded educational sessions on choosing the seeds, planting and caring for plants through the growing season, harvesting fresh produce, and adding it to family-friendly meals and snacks.
There's also a social aspect to community gardening, said Neier, who explained that community gardens can bring residents together in new ways to support personal goals in improving health, yet also support improving community health.
The deadline for the Kansas Community Garden Grant applications is Jan. 15.
More information about the garden grants is available at K-State Research and Extension offices in each of the state's 105 counties and online: www.kansascommunitygardens.org.