Garden Grants Award Winners Announced

The Environmental Center is proud to announce the winners of their inaugural Garden Grant Program.

Through community, business and foundation support, $7,500 in funds were awarded to seven school garden projects throughout Central Oregon. Schools receiving award funds include: Bear Creek Elementary, Bend International School, Sisters Elementary School, Three Rivers School, REALMS, Seed to Table Educational Farm, and Henry Slater Elementary School. Outdoor infrastructure projects include installing irrigation, building deer fencing, and improving outdoor classroom space. Indoor projects include classroom growing, improved greenhouse production, and building indoor mobile garden carts.

“We were excited to learn about all the new gardens and improvements to current school gardens that are underway in our community,” said Denise Rowcroft, Sustainability Educator with The Environmental Center. “Though $14,000 was requested, we were only able to award half of that. This validates the need in our community for funding innovative projects like these that connect kids to where food comes from.”

The goal of The Environmental Center’s Garden Grant program is to provide local funding for public and private schools in Central Oregon to start, expand, improve or support a new or existing garden or outdoor classroom. Gardens can be indoor or outdoor, edible and/or native/pollinator gardens.

“We at Three Rivers School are excited to be afforded the opportunity to build mobile garden carts and begin growing not only food, but also interdisciplinary and experiential learning opportunities for our students,” said Rebecca Fender, Third Grade Teacher and Wellness Committee member. “We believe this project will encourage critical thinking, help establish mindful eating habits, and develop interest in becoming environmental stewards.”

Garden activities and education provide a wide range of positive benefits for kids, communities and the environment. This garden grant program is one strategy in The Environmental Center’s Garden for Every School initiative.  As part of this initiative, The Environmental Center also provides technical assistance to schools, has hired a FoodCorps service member to connect kids to healthy food in schools, and organizes a local Garden Educator Network. The next scheduled Garden Educator Network meeting is after-school on February 6, 2018. Contact Denise Rowcroft for more information.

These garden grants are supported by local business sponsorships and foundation grants, including:

Bend Whole Foods Marketplace
Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation
Next Level Burger
Saginaw Sunset
Chambers Family Foundation
Bank of the Cascades
Savory Spice
El Sancho
Central Oregon Beekeeping Association