Eleven Delaware urban farm and community garden projects are receiving support to grow and thrive through a new initiative designed to strengthen communities and improve nutrition.
This year's pilot initiative awarded $10,000 in micro-grants from the Delaware Department of Agriculture to community groups, religious institutions, schools and other organizations.
Gov. Jack Markell made the announcement at Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington, one of the 11 grant recipients. Kingswood has had a small garden for its clients for several years, and the grant funding will help it expand and add more raised beds.
"This support is incredibly helpful in our efforts to connect our families and children with fresh food and the art of gardening," said Logan Herring, executive director of the Kingswood Community Center. "It's wonderful to see the children digging in the dirt, pulling weeds, and planting, and even better to see their faces when their work produces fresh, delicious produce to enjoy."
Partners of the program include the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the Delaware Urban Farm and Food Coalition, the Delaware Center for Horticulture, and Delaware Cooperative Extension.
"From overgrown lots to school lawns, our neighborhoods have risen to the challenge and planted gardens or started small urban farms," said Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Kee. "The support that these diverse efforts have received is phenomenal, and these micro-grants are a way to continue that support in years to come. A small amount of funding can go a long way for a neighborhood looking to build raised beds or purchase plants and seeds."
This year's recipients include:
- Kingswood Community Center, Wilmington, $1,000
- Downtown Visions, Market Street Community Garden, Wilmington, $1,000
- Lutheran Community Services Community Food Pantry, Wilmington, $1,000
- Wilmington Friends School, $1,000
- Absalom Jones Senior Center, Wilmington, $1,000
- Elsmere Garden Society Community Garden, $500
- St. Nicholas' Episcopal Church Parish Garden, Newark, $1,000
- Healthy Foods for Healthy Kids at Pleasantville Elementary School, New Castle, $960
- Kent Community Garden Collaborative, $590
- W. Reily Brown Elementary, Dover, $1,000
- Kent County 4-H Afterschool Program, $950
The next application round will open in the fall. More information will be available at de.gov/urbanag.