Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District Invites Applications for Community Gardens Funding

The Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District (ERICD) is on the lookout for organizations across urban, suburban, and rural areas interested in establishing and maintaining community gardens or high tunnels. This initiative, made possible through a funding agreement between the RI State Conservation Committee (RISCC) and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), aims to support local food production and community engagement.

The deadline for applications for this year’s People’s Garden projects is April 1, 2024. ERICD will evaluate proposals from new applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, with a focus on funding projects ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 each. Excitingly, an extension has been granted by the USDA NRCS, providing awardees with until September 15th, 2025 to complete their People’s Garden Projects.

This grant presents an excellent opportunity for schools and community centers to embark on summer projects that foster community involvement and sustainable food production. Each proposed project is eligible for a maximum of $10,000 in funding, which can be allocated towards essential items such as tools, soil, seeds, fertilizer, irrigation materials, and more. While the funding cannot be used for maintaining existing gardens, it can be utilized to expand or create new garden beds at sites with existing gardens.

Sara Churgin, ERICD District Manager, emphasized the significance of community gardens in promoting local food resiliency and fostering connections within communities. “From pollinator pathways to expanding local food production gardens, we love to see how these gardens can impact a diverse range of our community,” Churgin remarked, encouraging interested parties to apply.

For further details or to submit an application, individuals can visit www.easternriconservation.org/peoples-garden or reach out to Sara Churgin, ERICD District Manager, via email at schurgin.ericd@gmail.com or by phone at 401.934.0842. This initiative promises to empower communities to cultivate sustainable practices while nurturing meaningful connections with the land.




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