The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) and American Public Gardens Association (Association) have partnered to support public gardens and their community partners engaging in urban agriculture and food-growing to address food security challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the USBG and the Association awarded $403,450 to 21 public garden partnerships across the United States that will foster public engagement and education in urban food growing and build capacity in urban agriculture programs. The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program aims to strengthen collaborations, promote resilience, and gather best practices from across the U.S.
Holden Forests & Gardens (HF&G) is one of the recipient gardens. The award will support the partnership of its Green Corps program with community-based gardens and urban farms in Cleveland. Over its 25-year history, Green Corps has taught more than 1,000 high school youth to grow and sell healthy, fresh, affordable food in Cleveland neighborhoods. With this project, we will leverage our urban farming experience to support three community partners–Revolutionary Love Garden in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood and Have A Hive and Lettuce Tree Farms at our Slavic Village neighborhood farm–which will serve to broaden our reach and deepen the impact of partners’ community-based initiatives.
Both neighborhoods where our programs are based have long struggled with inequality and disinvestment. Many residents experience food insecurity, which has been greatly exacerbated by COVID-19. Our partnership will support the growth of two small nonprofits and a small business enterprise as they deliver classes, community-building events, neighborhood revitalization, and fresh, plant-based food directly to affected communities.
“Being recipients of the USDA- APGA Urban Agriculture Resilience Program award is immensely encouraging as it recognizes HF&G’s ongoing efforts in community greening while enabling us to bolster partnerships with Cleveland practitioners who are working tirelessly to strengthen food security in low- income and low- access areas; to educate their neighbors on preparing healthy, culturally relevant foods, and to engage residents in fostering healthy ecosystems,” said Cherise Kent, Green Corps Coordinator at Holden Forests & Gardens.
In addition to HF&G’s Green Corps program, these funds will help participating programs in 16 states and Washington, D.C. integrate urban food growing and education while addressing food security challenges facing their communities. The program seeks to leverage the strength of public gardens working with partners in their communities, ranging from schools, universities, and urban farms to food pantries, community gardens, local government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program will provide insight into successful approaches and future opportunities for public gardens and their partners to creatively utilize their unique assets to advance food and agriculture education in urban communities.
“The past year has underscored the widespread interest in, and need for, urban agriculture programs that address food insecurity. We are excited to build on the success of last year’s Urban Agriculture Resilience Program and support innovative collaborations between public gardens and diverse partners in their communities,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden. “It’s inspiring to see these partners coming together to extend the reach and deepen the impact of their programming.”
“We are proud to continue to partner with the U.S. Botanic Garden and offer these awards that provide opportunities to directly address knowledge gaps and food insecurity in 21 communities nationwide,” said Casey Sclar, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association. “Through these awards we also will continue to gain knowledge of what makes successful partnerships possible, helping more gardens to be the resilient centers of their communities.”
The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program began in 2020 as a way for the USBG and the Association to help public gardens continue urban agriculture and food growing programs facing funding and capacity challenges due to COVID-19.
Public garden and community partner collaborations awarded 2021 funding include:
- Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, in collaboration with Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Community Kitchens
- Desert Botanical Garden, in collaboration with Unlimited Potential, TigerMountain Foundation, The Orchard Community Learning Center, and Roosevelt School District
- The Gardens on Spring Creek, in collaboration with Food Bank for Larimer County
- Delaware Center for Horticulture, in collaboration with Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
District of Columbia
- Friends of the National Arboretum, in collaboration with the U.S. National Arboretum
- Atlanta Botanical Garden, in collaboration with Friends of Refugees and Global Growers Network
- Trees Atlanta, in collaboration with the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Resilience and the City of Atlanta Department of Parks and Recreation
- The Morton Arboretum, in collaboration with Homan Grown, Stone Temple Baptist Church, and Permaculture Chicago Teaching Institute
- University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, in collaboration with Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, Detroit Black Community Food Security Network D-Town Farm
- Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, in collaboration with Pillsbury United Communities, WE WIN Institute, St. Paul City Schools, Plymouth Christian Youth Center, Kaleidoscope Place, North Point Health & Wellness Center Community Food Shelf, and CAP Agency Food Shelf
- EarthDance, in collaboration with The Vine at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Restorative Justice Movement, and BTC St. Vincent’s Food Pantry
- Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center, in collaboration with The New York Botanical Garden, Morris Campus Farm, La Finca del Sur, and Morning Glory Community Garden
- Queens Botanical Garden, in collaboration with La Jornada Food Pantry at Queens Museum
- Ability Garden, in collaboration with New Hanover County Arboretum and Cooperative Extension, Wilmington Housing Authority
- Holden Forests & Gardens, in collaboration with Revolutionary Love Garden, Have a Hive, and Lettuce Tree Farms
- Grumblethorpe Historic House & Gardens (PhilaLandmarks), in collaboration with Chef Gail Hinson, Johnson House Historic Site, and Historic Fair Hill
- Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, in collaboration with East Park Revitalization Alliance, Neighborhood Gardens Trust
- Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, in collaboration with Homewood-Brushton YMCA
- Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, in collaboration with The Museum of Infinite Outcomes
- University of Washington Botanic Gardens, in collaboration with wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, UW Nutritional Sciences Program, UW Neighborhood Design/Build Studio, and UW Program on the Environment
- Friends of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, in collaboration with Wyoming Hunger Initiative
Media contacts: Devin Dotson, U.S. Botanic Garden, (202) 306-6743 or Richard Doran, American Public Gardens Association, (610) 708-3013; Margaret Thresher, Holden Forests & Gardens at email@example.com.
About the United States Botanic Garden
The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is the oldest continuously operating public garden in the United States. The Garden informs visitors about the importance and fundamental value and diversity of plants, as well as their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic, and ecological significance. With over a million visitors annually, the USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices. The U.S. Botanic Garden is a living plant museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. www.USBG.gov
About the American Public Gardens Association
The American Public Gardens Association is the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture. We advance the field by encouraging best practices, offering educational and networking opportunities, and advocating on behalf of our members, our programs and public gardens worldwide. We work together with our members and others to strengthen and shape public horticulture, providing the tools and support industry professionals need to better serve the public while preserving and celebrating plants creatively and sustainably.
Since 1940, we have been committed to increasing cooperation and awareness among gardens. Our members include more than 600 institutions, spanning 49 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, and 20 countries. Our members include, but are not limited to, botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges and universities, display gardens, and research facilities.
About Holden Forests & Gardens
Holden Forests & Gardens is made up of two of Northeast Ohio’s most important environmental and cultural institutions — the Holden Arboretum and Cleveland Botanical Garden — whose mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities. The 14th largest public garden in the country, Holden Forests & Gardens has nearly 17,000 member households and an annual attendance of over 350,000 for whom we strive to provide inspirational and educational visitor experiences. For more information, visit holdenfg.org.