More than 300 food shelves operate in Minnesota. Approximately 20% currently operate a community garden on or near their food shelf site. Many other agencies providing programs alleviating hunger operate community gardens to generate food for program participants. For those lacking access to fresh, healthy food, the produce generated is an important source of nutrition. As a result of the gardens, many agencies have developed healthy eating, nutrition education, menu planning, and cooking programs. Agencies also report that operating gardens can be an excellent source of community building, often engaging volunteers, civic groups, and local businesses.
Open Your Heart to the Hungry and Homeless believes that developing and operating a community garden can be a valuable addition to the services hunger relief programs provide. We also understand gardens can be challenging to develop and operate and thus the decision to move forward must be a thoughtful process.
Open Your Heart will issue Community Garden Planning Grants of up to $3,000 to non-profit organizations to help them determine the feasibility of bringing a garden to their agency.
Grant funds are to be used to help agencies determine whether operating a community garden is a feasible and desirable undertaking. Developing a garden is an investment of time and resources. Usually, it is necessary to conduct soil testing, assess water capacity and landscaping needs, apply for permits, determine storage and refrigeration capacity, equipment needs, etc. It is also critical that agencies assess their organizational capacity to determine whether they can effectively recruit and manage the additional volunteers or staff to operate a garden. We encourage applicants to consider hiring consultants specializing in developing community gardens to help their organization through this process.
Agencies already operating gardens who wish to be considered for grants for equipment, storage, refrigeration, etc., should apply through our regular grant process and not through this RFP. See our website for information on Hunger and Homeless Grants for this information.
To learn more about the grant process and download a copy of the application please visit: https://www.oyh.org/grant-programs/community-garden-planning-grant/