Grants will help to establish local sustainable gardens
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ““ The Tennessee Department of Agriculture has partnered with Tennessee Ag in the Classroom to begin accepting applications for the Community & School Gardens Initiative. The goal of the program is to establish sustainable gardens throughout the state and is funded through the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.
“Community gardens are a great way for neighbors to work together to improve their neighborhood while providing fresh produce for their families,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson. “This program will help communities and schools get started on creating local sustainable gardens.”
Qualifying applicants include community groups, neighborhood associations, churches, public and private schools and farmers’ markets. Organizations must demonstrate in their application that they are able to coordinate educational programs, outreach and volunteers, special events, public relations, maintenance and security, local business contributions, finances and consistent community involvement.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for schools to use gardens as a learning laboratory that can offer numerous teachable moments for all involved,” said Lacy Upchurch, president of the Tennessee Farm Bureau. “Concepts from all disciplines, mathematics, science, social studies and health can be explored using the fertile soil of a growing mind.”
A selection committee will review the applications and plans to determine grant eligibility. The maximum an organization can request is $2,500. The minimum request is $500. Deadline for submitting applications will be Sept. 1.
TAEP is a state funded program established in 2005 and supported by the General Assembly to increase farm income in Tennessee by helping farmers invest in better farming practices and by encouraging diversification and innovation. The program also supports agricultural community and educational projects for rural development.
The Tennessee Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity chartered for the advancement of education and agriculture literacy. It is supported and administered by the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation and provides teachers with resources to help them educate their students about agriculture.