Making a Difference: Gardens on Spring Creek Receives Urban Agriculture Funding

Urban Agriculture Programs at 28 Public Gardens Awarded Funds for Use During COVID-19 

The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) and American Public Gardens Association have partnered to offer immediate support to established urban agriculture and other urban food-growing programs at public gardens affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, the USBG and the Association awarded $378,000 to 28 public gardens across the United States to help sustain urban agriculture and community food growing during this challenging time. The Urban Agriculture Resilience Program aims to promote resilience, grow capacity, prevent shortfalls, and gather best practices from established programs across the U.S. public gardens community. 

PHOTO COURTESY GARDENS ON SPRING CREEK

The Friends of The Gardens on Spring Creek, the nonprofit partner of The Gardens on Spring Creek, a City of Fort Collins cultural services facility, is one of the recipient gardens. 

The Gardens on Spring Creek grows more than 7,000 pounds of food annually for the Food Bank for Larimer County through its Garden of Eatin’ and manages eight community garden locations – including more than 150 plots – throughout the Fort Collins community. The Gardens offers adult education classes on growing fruits and vegetables and preserving the harvest, many of which are now being offered virtually. Additionally, The Gardens serves as a collection site for Plant It Forward, a partnership with the Food Bank for Larimer County which invites local gardeners to plant an extra row and donate produce to support low-income, youth, seniors and other vulnerable populations served by the Food Bank for Larimer County. Participants may drop off their produce at The Gardens, especially on weekends when the Food Bank is not open. 

With the assistance of these funds, participating gardens in 19 states and Washington, D.C. will be able to grow and distribute produce, especially to communities with food access challenges; maintain and expand urban agriculture and other food growing education programs; and promote wellness and nutrition by educating the public about growing and consuming fruits and vegetables. Beyond providing immediate support, the Urban Agriculture Resilience Program will provide insight into successful approaches and future opportunities for public gardens—though varying program models—to improve food access and advance food and agriculture education in urban communities, particularly during times of crisis. 

PHOTO COURTESY GARDENS ON SPRING CREEK

“Especially now, during this unprecedented health and economic crisis, communities need access to healthy, fresh foods. We are proud to be able to support our fellow public gardens in their vital work of helping local communities grow and gain access to more fruits and vegetables and achieve better nutrition,” said Saharah Moon Chapotin, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

“We appreciate the fantastic work public gardens across America are doing every day to support communities to provide horticultural knowledge and food security, especially during this very challenging time,” said Casey Sclar, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association. 

Gardens awarded funding include: 

  • Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia 
  • Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina 
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York 
  • Cape Fear Botanical Garden, North Carolina 
  • Delaware Center for Horticulture, Delaware 
  • Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado 
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Ohio 
  • Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, Alabama 
  • Friends of the National Arboretum, Washington, D.C. 
  • Georgeson Botanical Garden, Alaska 
  • Grumblethorpe Historic House and Gardens, Pennsylvania 
  • Idaho Botanical Garden, Idaho 
  • Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum, Tennessee 
  • Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, University of Michigan, Michigan 
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Minnesota 
  • North Carolina Botanical Garden, North Carolina 
  • Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, North Carolina 
  • Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Pennsylvania 
  • Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pennsylvania 
  • Queens Botanical Garden, New York 
  • San Antonio Botanical Garden, Texas 
  • Santa Fe Botanical Garden, New Mexico 
  • State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Georgia 
  • The Gardens on Spring Creek, Colorado 
  • Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Massachusetts 
  • University of Maryland Community Learning Garden, Maryland 
  • University of Tennessee Gardens, Tennessee 
  • University of Washington Botanic Gardens, Washington 

In addition, the U.S. Botanic Garden has expanded a previously existing collaboration with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest to support programming that will provide fresh produce and nutrition education to people with diet-related diseases who are also experiencing food insecurity. 

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