My children and I are preparing to plant our first vegetable garden. Since we live in Arizona, September is prime planting season for a variety of veggies and although I have a brown thumb, we are going to do our best to succeed at container veggie gardening.

In preparation for our first garden, I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on regarding gardening. Today, I came across a report from Gardenburger’s Community Garden Grants Program. The program recently awarded 14 nonprofit organizations grant funding to either create or maintain a community gardening project.

“According to the National Gardening Association, the average family can grow $600 worth of vegetables with just a $70 investment. However, those who live in urban areas and don't have access to their own land cannot take advantage of this money-saving activity.” Source: PR Newswire

I love reading about urban gardening programs. Just last week I shared Growing Home’s story. Growing Home is an Illinois-based nonprofit that operates several urban organic farms in the Chicago area. In addition to providing fresh, organic product to neighborhood residents, the program also provides green jobs training to homeless and low-income individuals.

Nonprofit organizations in 10 states received grants ranging from $1,262 to $10,000 for their community gardening projects. FOCUS Churches of Albany (New York) received the smallest grant, $1,262. However, the nonprofit will be able to add 100 families to their “Garden in a Bucket” program with this money.

The United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, MA received the maximum grant amount available, $10,000. With this grant money, the organization will be training youth to not only operate the urban farm, but to sell the products at a local farmers market. This is just another example of how urban farming projects can be combined with green jobs training to provide a pathway out of poverty for citizens of our nation.

Photo: Seamus Murray