As February ends and March begins, I start dreaming of tulips and a freshly planted garden. Unfortunately, Vermont still has six weeks left of winter, but our Knoxville, Tennessee facility will be thawing out much sooner. During our fiscal 2012 grantmaking, we provided financial support to The New Harvest Park Community Garden in Knoxville. The Garden is a partnership of the Knoxville Area Coalition on Childhood Obesity, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Knox County Parks and Recreation. The Community Garden promotes a healthy lifestyle through education about real food – where it comes from, how it grows, the nutritional benefits, the many unique flavors – while providing physical activity in the garden. Groups of children attend a ten week program, Junior Master Gardener, which offers horticulture and environmental science education through fun and creative activities. GMCR’s funding provided the equipment, supplies, and an instructor for the program.
The first graduates of the Junior Master Gardener program received their completion certificates at the garden dedication ceremony which was featured on the local news and on Knox County’s website. Members of the Knoxville Grantmaking Team attended the dedication ceremony and spoke to some of the Junior Master Gardeners. They spoke highly of the program and were proud to share their favorite experiences in the program which included weeding, manually tilling the ground, picking the harvest that they worked hard to grow, and eating the yummy vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and herbs. More information and pictures from the Community Garden can be viewed on their Facebook page.
Through Employee Community Grant Programs at each of our employee sites in the United States and Canada, we provide grants to organizations and projects that address specific issues aligned with environmental stewardship, strong local systems, and economic prosperity. Each employee site has its own grant program and review team, and each directs their philanthropic efforts and resources to a set of specific focus areas that are meaningful for their employees and relevant to their unique community.