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Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: Roselle Park Environmental Garden

This year, Gardening Know How’s School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we’re excited to share them with you. Every other week we’ll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we’re featuring the Roselle Park Environmental Garden.

This small community garden in Roselle Park, New Jersey has been running for four years with straw bale plots and relative success. Recently, however, bad weather has really given the bales a beating, and production and membership are both down. To save their garden and bring the community back together, the Roselle Park Environmental Commission is taking big steps, replacing their straw bales with tougher and more permanent raised beds.

The straw bales are on the way out and will be replaced by hardier, more practical raised beds. 

The Commission also hopes to erect
a fence around the garden to keep out deer and poachers, both of which have
been problems lately. That’s two big projects this coming year, but it’s worth
it, and with these improvements the future is looking bright. Roselle Park is a
close-knit community known for its service, and the members of the Environmental
Garden are passionate about their work. Much of the produce grown in the garden
is donated to a local food bank. And they’ve recently brought on a gardener who
is certified in organic methods and has been a huge asset.

These gardeners know what their problems
are, they’ve found a clear solution, and they are ready to get to work.

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Roselle Park Environmental Garden will be able to build new, hardier raised beds and put up a protecting fence around them, making a garden that will last and be able to give back to the community. We’re proud to be able to help them realize this dream.

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Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: the Young Gardeners Program

This year, Gardening Know How’s School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we’re excited to share them with you. Every other week we’ll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we’re featuring the Young Gardeners Program.

In 2017 the Young Gardeners Program was founded in
Galveston, Texas. A project of the already-established Galveston’s Own Farmers
Market, the program began as a way to provide local kids with healthy produce
and teach them the power and satisfaction of growing their own food.

And it’s working. Beginning with 40 students at the
Rosenberg Elementary School, the program has since expanded to two more schools
and is currently serving 100 kids.

The watering brigade.

The Young Gardeners Program focuses on existing after
school initiatives geared toward students in grades 1-4. It establishes on-site
organic gardens and teaches children how to tend to the produce they grow.
There’s a lot of emphasis on producing food the students can take home
regularly to their families – the goal is a half pound bag of vegetables every
week for every student!

The program is thriving thanks to tireless volunteers.

So far the program has been a huge success, and it’s
growing at a rapid rate thanks to the tireless help of volunteers. There are a
total of 15 schools on Galveston Island, and the program hopes to have a garden
at each of them by 2022.

Kids grow their own produce and take it home to enjoy.

But if the Young Gardeners Program is going to keep
expanding and changing lives, it’s going to need some help. As more gardens and
educational programs are established, Gardening Know How will help support the
three existing sites, paying for much needed materials such as seeds,
fertilizer, and garden bed maintenance.

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Young Gardeners Program will be able to serve more and more children in Galveston, teaching them the joys of digging in the dirt and taking home the fruits of their labors. We’re proud to be able to help them realize this dream.

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Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: Minuteman Park Harvest Garden

This year, Gardening Know How’s School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we’re excited to share them with you. Every other week we’ll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we’re featuring the Minuteman Park Harvest Garden in Chicago.

Kids learn about the ins and outs of organic gardening.

The Chicago Park District’s Harvest Garden Program is an
organization committed to connecting the children of Chicago to their food’s
roots and teaching them the fundamentals of organic gardening. Founded in the
year 2000, the program is now present in 18 parks across the city, where local
children can get involved in all aspects of tending vegetable garden beds,
completely free of charge.

The Harvest Garden Program is free and open to kids ages 6-12.

According
to Kristin Brock, the Park District’s Senior Program Specialist for Gardening,
“Many of the concepts taught through the Harvest Garden Program are reinforced
through games, writing and art activities, and recipe preparation. These
projects thrive when they are inspired by the garden and the concepts are less
theoretical – closer proximity to plants and beneficial insects increases the
participants’ creativity and wonder.”

It’s
been hard for the program to thrive in Minuteman Park, however. Built in the
1970s in an historically underprivileged neighborhood right next to the
airport, the park’s sprawling layout and difficult access for children have
been a real obstacle to the program’s efforts to reach its full potential.

Children learn hands-on about where food comes from.

With
Gardening Know How’s support, the Minuteman Park Harvest Garden will get a
much-needed expansion and revamping, relocating and growing its vegetable
garden and adding a native plant and pollinator garden. This should give the
program’s children much better access to vegetables and the opportunity to
learn about new plants and insects.

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Minuteman Park Harvest Garden will be introducing even more of Chicago’s kids to healthy produce, pollinators, and inclusive, engaging education about gardening and plants. We’re proud to be able to help them realize their dream.

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Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: Esperanza Community Garden

This year, Gardening Know How’s School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful story, and we’re excited to share them with you. Every other week we’ll highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how amazing they really are. This week we’re featuring the Esperanza Community Garden.

Hopeworks is a nonprofit organization based in Camden, NJ, where it works with young people, “with a focus on education, technology, and entrepreneurship.” Usually, Hopeworks focuses on teaching life and work skills that empower the youth of Camden to enter the business world. But the Esperanza Community Garden is a slightly different – though no less important – undertaking.

The Esperanza
Community Garden was founded in 2011 in a city block near Hopeworks’ original
location. The block was a known problem area, and a frequent spot for drug
dealing. Hopeworks teamed up with the community to start a small garden,
diverting crime, giving locals a place to grow produce, and giving the block a
much needed boost in the right direction.

Over the years,
the garden has served a vital role in a community that is otherwise lacking in
reliable ways to get fresh, healthy food. Some plots are run by neighbors who
grow their own plants, while others are maintained by volunteers to produce
food that is donated to the church across the street for weekly food drives.

Many community
members depend on the garden, which is “the only free-access established source
for organic and fresh produce in the North Camden area,” but the budget to keep
it going is small. Hopeworks is a nonprofit that puts nearly all of its funds into
youth engagement, and while it would love to do more for the garden, it’s just
not possible to do everything at once.

That’s where
Gardening Know How comes in. With a $1,000 grant, the members of the Esperanza
Community Garden have plans to repair their fence and bring in large quantities
of much needed soil and mulch. They also hope to update their mural, a
centerpiece of the garden that has taken a beating over the years. They plan to
paint a new, more weatherproof mural that, according to Hopeworks’ Alec Cassel, “will be
representative of the grit and resilience of our community, that will make them
proud to know the garden is in their community, and will hopefully attract more
community members, and make it a captivating green space, where residents can
get away from the city structures and spend some time with nature.”

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Esperanza Community Garden will be providing North Camden residents with a safe, green space to grow their own produce and give back to their community. We’re proud to be able to help them realize this dream.

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Gardening Know How Sponsorship Recipient: Summerloch Green Community Garden

This
year, Gardening Know How’s School and Community Garden Sponsorship Program was
fortunate enough to help support 20 gardens with $1,000 each. These gardens
represent a wide array of community and school programs, from Florida to
Saskatchewan and many places in between. Each has its own unique and powerful
story, and we’re excited to share them with you. Every other week we’ll
highlight one of our sponsorship recipients to help spread the word about how
amazing they really are. This week we’re featuring the Summerloch Green Community Garden.

Summerloch Green is a small
retirement community in Casselberry, Florida, a city of about 26,000 people.
While the community has several recreational activities, it’s always gone
without a garden. And with a large number of its residents living on social
security checks alone, fresh produce hasn’t always been at the forefront in
everyone’s kitchens.

That’s going to change this
year, however, as the Summerloch Green Community Garden breaks ground in its
first season of operation.

The brand new garden board
has been given a given a piece of land by the community, and as we speak, it is
being leveled and graded to create a “blank canvas where we expect to create a
masterpiece,” according to Raymond Simmons, one of the masterminds behind the
new garden. Soon the beds will be installed, including several elevated beds
specifically designed for the inclusion of elderly and handicapped community
members. A few prototypes have already been built.

Prototypes of Elevated Beds

Once the beds are in place,
it’ll be time for planting under the supervision of a resident Master Gardener.
The planting will begin with vegetables and herbs that will be donated to the
community’s food bank, a service so many residents rely upon. Since Casselberry
is located in central Florida, it’s gifted with a near year-long growing season
and will be able to provide fresh produce the whole year through.

Raymond also has plans to
add a sensory garden, “so
people may enjoy the sight, taste, feel and smell of select plants.”

With the grant from Gardening Know How, the Summerloch Green Community Garden will be
bringing its residents fresh local food and giving them a place to get in touch
with nature and put their hands in the dirt. We’re proud to be able to help
them realize this dream.

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