Community Garden Grants Available for Southwest Michigan



Accepting Applications for Second Round of Community Garden Grants


In a national competition, the Calhoun Conservation District was one of 10 organizations to win People’s Garden grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Calhoun Conservation District is sponsoring the People’s Community Gardens of Southwest Michigan program that will award a second round of grants for community gardens within the following thirteen counties of southwest Michigan: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

The People’s Garden Grant Program is an expansion of the People’s Garden Initiative, started in 2009 by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on the 200th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln founded the Department of Agriculture in 1862, calling it “The People’s Department” in his last annual message to Congress. USDA awarded $725,000 to create 155 gardens in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan and Ohio. There are more than 1,400 People’s Gardens across the nation, three U.S. territories and nine foreign countries.

The People’s Garden Grant Program is designed to facilitate the creation of produce, recreation, and/or wildlife gardens in urban and rural areas, which will provide opportunities for science-based informal education. This program is a joint initiative supported by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Food and Nutrition Service, Forest Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service, in addition to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Through the People’s Community Gardens of Southwest Michigan, the Calhoun Conservation District will provide sub-grant awards to groups and organizations wishing to create, expand or rejuvenate community gardens. There is $22,345 remaining for this second round of sub-grant awards.

To learn how your group or organization can apply for a sub-grant award of $2,000 to $5,000, visit the district’s website at, and select Programs, then Community Gardens, to download the materials needed to submit your proposal which must be received by the November 2, 2012 deadline. For more information, call Suzanne Ebright at (269) 781-4867, ext. 39.


The Calhoun Conservation District was formed in 1945 and currently employs seven full-time staff with backgrounds in natural resource management, agriculture, and education. The work of the District focuses on sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, environmental risk reduction, community projects and environmental education.



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