With childhood obesity and poverty increasing, now more than ever before, children need to learn about and work in gardens. Gardening is great exercise and children who help to grow their food will make healthier food choices. Gardening Grants are available not only for schools, but also for after-school programs, daycares, community garden plots, and many other not for profit groups. The benefits of these gardening programs are numerous and grants to start or maintain an established one requires applying to the right organization and meeting their guidelines. Children can learn vital lessons about interdependence, community, and local food crops that they will carry with them to adulthood, perhaps even becoming lifelong gardeners.
Searching for an organization or company that offers Gardening Grants is not too difficult if you find a centralized information depot like the one available from the National Gardening Association. They offer a wealth of information on gardening with children, ways to incorporate science or other curriculum, and links to other resources. One of their best resources is a page dedicated to finding grants to start or expand a current gardening program. There are detailed descriptions of the requirements of each available grant. Another lesser known source for gardening grants are local food cooperatives that offer support for local school garden and nutrition programs. Deadlines for all of these grants vary and must be strictly adhered to, so be sure that you are leaving yourself enough time to write a proposal for the program you are interested in.
Some organizations and companies offer Gardening Grants to specific ages or grades of children and others want to ensure that the recipient will teach specific principles or link it to state learning requirements. There are donors who give preference to certain types of programs or areas of the United States. One common requirement is that there be a minimum number of planned participants. Many grantees want to support programs that have a focus on environmental stewardship or leadership and community involvement. Grant awards can be in the form of cash, gift cards to garden centers, specific gardening tools or supplies, or gift certificates to be used in a specific catalog.