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Published on March 23, 2024
Urban Agriculture Blossoms as 26 Public Gardens Receive $445,600 for Community Food Security InitiativesSource: City of Kennesaw, GA

Gardens across America are digging into more than just dirt, they're planting the seeds for a greener future in food security and urban agriculture. The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) together with the American Public Gardens Association is funneling a cool $445,600 into the wallets of 26 public gardens. Partnered up with local communities, they're all set to give urban agriculture an adrenaline shot.

One nominee out of the garden variety is Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw, GA. In partnership with Our Giving Garden, a local nonprofit, they're turning a new leaf with a project they've dubbed the Living Laboratory. Executive Director Dave Simpson told the city's official website, "We are excited to be partnering with Our Giving Garden in Mableton to help us establish our food growing to enhance our community engagement and educational programming."

This urban oasis isn't just about growing green thumbs; it's about providing fresh eats to locals who've hit hard times. Our Giving Garden isn't new to the good fight, having already donated a hefty 10,000 pounds of organic produce and cracked open 12,000 eggs to the Sweetwater Mission Food Pantry.

From sea to shining sea, including Washington, D.C., the funds are earmarked to push urban food growing and education. This year, they've got an eye on backing smaller gardens and outfits that are planting the seeds of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. Dr. Susan Pell, USBG executive director, boasted to Kennesaw's news outlet, "The collaborations supported through this year’s Urban Agriculture Resilience Program demonstrate many creative ways that urban agriculture can connect people and plants through food."

Since 2020, the Urban Agriculture Resilience Program has sprouted up $1.57 million across 80 collaborations in 30 states plus the District of Columbia. They've got more than just numbers to show for it: roughly 690,000 pounds of home-grown produce, in excess of 260,000 seedlings, and over 46,000 hours of urban agriculture training. They've sown a lot more than just seeds; they've cultivated a community dedicated to growing a sustainable and equitable future.