Growing Spaces is proud to announce this year’s grant recipients. We had several applicants this season, which made the decision quite difficult. By weighing several different factors, such as the quality and details provided in the application, we arrived at a conclusion. We also considered the number of people that would be affected by the project. The grant recipients for this season provided us with such wonderful descriptions of their projects that we felt like we could personally connect with the local community and easily have a close knit group of friends. We decided that the grant applicants whom already have a functional outdoor gardening program in place are more prepared and ready to handle the demands of a flourishing Growing Dome. All of our grant recipients are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations, and have great potential for spreading and evolving the environmentally friendly paradigm we are all share. The Growing Spaces team would like to thank all of our applicants for all the hard work and wonderful stories; we are thrilled to share with you the 2015 grant recipients.
Our first place grant was awarded to the Mountain Sage Community School in Fort Collins, Colorado. Growing Spaces has been working closely
with Jody Swigris-Winner and John Campbell to determine the school’s readiness and ability to manage a twenty-two foot Growing Dome. Jody sent us a well-crafted community school garden booklet with pictures of transforming their plot of land from 2012 to 2014. Their outdoor garden space was once a parking lot for heavy machinery. Reading about all the hard work it took to clean up the lot and create a thriving community garden, was truly inspiring. After reviewing the booklet, visiting the school’s website, and talking with several individuals involved in the project, we believe that the school is truly living up to their mission and vision. The Mountain Sage Community School is not just ready for a Growing Dome; they are in need of one to advance their gardening program to the next level. Jody was even kind enough to share her grandmother’s tasty kugilis recipe (a Lithuanian grated potato casserole) with us. With that said, thank you Jody, John, all the happy volunteers, and all of the students and staff at Mountain Sage! Congratulations on receiving this award; we wish you all continued success and we are ecstatic to be working with you to make the world even greener.
The Growing Spaces team decided that our second place award shall be granted to the Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, Colorado. The school will be building a twenty-six foot Growing Dome. This school jumped out at us because they are using permaculture practices and encourage a diverse educational curriculum. Their pilot program titled “Happy Dirty Feet” is geared towards horticulture therapy, which creates a unique educational environment for students to develop unique skills and connect to their local environment. The program is as diverse as the students, which allows each individual’s personality to flourish. The Students’ creativity thrives in this kind of environment and promotes their physical and psychological well-being. In the process, the students’ cognitive and vocational abilities will grow and transform with the seasons. The Jefferson County Open School also has a wonderful blog about their community garden, so anyone can get involved in the project—near and far. The blog provides visitors with a glimpse of the creativity embedded in the community and the forward thinking encompassed in the “Happy Dirty Feet” pilot program. We at Growing Spaces are excited to have our hands in the progression of the program, the school, and the community at large from afar. Congratulations Martin Walsh, Sharon, and everyone involved with applying for the Growing Dome grant. We hope you have a bountiful, healthy year. We are honored to contribute to a healthy future at Jefferson County Open School.
Our third and final recipient for the spring 2015 Growing Spaces grant will be awarded to the Red Hawk Foundation at Red Hawk Elementary in
Erie, Colorado. Red Hawk Elementary is part of the St. Vrain Valley School District, which is the 7th largest in Colorado. The Growing Spaces team has been working with Debbie Schoeneshoefer to learn about the possible impacts that a thirty-three foot Growing Dome would have on the students, school, and community at large. The four pillars of the Red Hawk Elementary Foundation include protecting the environment, health and nutrition education, movement, and character development. These four pillars will marry well with a Growing Spaces Growing Dome! Red Hawk is active in providing students in need with nutritious food to bring home to their families. The school has already been working with Erie UpLink, the community’s local food bank, to provide children with a backpack of non-perishable foods. The school also has several food drive programs throughout the year to contribute to the program. Red Hawk has prospects for adding to the backpack food bank program by providing students with fresh fruits and vegetables. In their experience so far with the outdoor garden, the fresh fruits and veggies hardly ever make it home because the students enjoy them so much! Congratulations Debbie, all of the staff at Red Hawk Elementary, and the community at large in Erie; a thirty-three foot Growing Dome will be arriving in the near future!
The owners of Growing Spaces are very generous and are always looking at new ways to connect people to their food and the planet at large. The Growing Dome is just one way in which Puja and Udgar are closing the gap between people and the environment. Every day the businesses’ network grows and involves more individuals, communities, farms, and schools. It is exciting to be part of this network and community of environmental stewardship. Everyone at Growing Spaces is thankful for all the wonderful relationships we have developed over the years. We are looking forward to many more years of successful contributions for empowering students, teachers, individuals, families, local farms, and communities to create a bright green future. Please join the community by following us on facebook, watching for new blog posts, signing up for our newsletter, learning from our YouTube channel, sending us an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or simply calling us (800-753-9333). We have a friendly, helpful staff that is knowledgeable and always willing to chat about the myriad possibilities abound. Once again, Congratulations to our 2015 grant recipients: Mountain Sage Community School, Jefferson County Open School, and Red Hawk Elementary School.