The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department’s Step ONE program has opened its community teaching garden grant application period through the end of August. Those interested are encouraged to apply for grants up to $1,000. The purpose of the teaching garden initiative is to:
• Demonstrate to children and families the importance of food choices for overall health;
• Provide opportunities for people to learn valuable skills such as communication, responsibility, teamwork, and leadership.
"Teaching gardens improve the relationship we have with food," officials said. "Research shows that people - especially children - are more likely to eat the fruits and vegetables they help grow.
Additionally, when a group of people comes together around the garden process they also grow healthy relationships with each other and the community around them."
“Each garden tells a unique story,” says Step ONE Garden Grant Coordinator Renee Craig, “It’s a story of overcoming obstacles, cultivating relationships, and learning core values such as hard work, cooperation, and leadership. When these values become rooted in the garden, they become rooted in our community.”
Since December 2008, Step ONE has funded 62 teaching gardens around Hamilton County. Any organization such as neighborhood associations, churches, schools, businesses or daycares may apply. New teaching garden grants are awarded for $1,000, and previous grantees can apply for $250 a year for up to 3 years. Now through Aug. 31, Step ONE will be accepting applications which can be found on the Step ONE website
Current grant recipients have this to say:
• “Our focus was to encourage students to eat healthy foods, but in our first scholastic year of having the garden we found great educational opportunities for our students in science, nutrition and socializing.” – Signal Mountain Middle High School Garden
• “It is exciting to see the kids motivated and pushing towards a common goal.” - Brainerd High School Garden
• “We are so grateful for the Step ONE Grant that we received. The student possibilities are endless.” Dawn Program Garden
To apply for the teaching garden grants, visit the Step ONE website
or call 423-209-8090.