Monday, August 17, 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL & THE GARDEN


The start of a new school year is within sight and with it comes all the optimism, energy, and excitement of a fresh start! No better time to tap this positive energy and get a school garden underway. It is hard to believe I began this conversation about school gardens in February. Planning a garden takes time and even more so if it is a school garden, especially when it comes to the “HOW”. It may not be difficult getting volunteer labor and in kind donations but there has to be some funding available.

Three Rivers School Garden Layout 
This may be the most challenging obstacle faced. In the big picture of schoolyard improvements, the garden is probably the most attainable with limited funds. Most,if not all, of the projects I have designed include a garden area. The garden area is a great place to start because they do not require much purchased equipment, space or infrastructure. 

Here are ways to fund gardens:
·         Funding from the administration or PTO’s
·         Private Donors
·         Fundraisers/Events
·         Grants

Of all these methods grants are a primary source of funds.  Many grants related to school gardens open for submission at the beginning of the school year, so this is a good time and place to start. There is no joy for me, as a landscape architect, designing nature based learning and play environments for children,to not see the designs implemented due to lack of funds. To assist schools and childcare centers, Naturally Rooted LLC  has been compiling a list of funding sources. Here and in the future, I will post funding opportunities and strategies that could make a difference in efforts to “bring learning to life in the garden”.






GRANTS TO EXPLORE


Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant


Fall Cycle Open / Closed October 16,2015


Whole Kids Foundation


Opens September 1, 2015 / Closed October 31, 2015 

Created in partnership with FoodCorps (https://foodcorps.org/) ,  the School Garden Grant program provides a $2,000 monetary grant to a K-12 school, or a nonprofit working in partnership with a K-12 school, to support a new or existing edible garden on school grounds.


Project Learning Tree GreenWorks!

The deadline to apply is September 30, 2015

PLT offers grants for service learning projects that improve schools or restore natural habitats.