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. During June, 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.
Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, SC is one of the recipient gardens. In their recently expanded heritage farm garden, Bethea’s Garden, a bounty of produce is being grown and harvested every day. Bethea’s Garden focuses on using sustainable practices to grow healthy food.
“We are excited to receive this award, which will help us to do even more to reach out to our community with healthy fruits and vegetables,” said Page Kiniry, President and CEO of Brookgreen.
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.
“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.