Applications for the 2023 season are now closed.

Read below to learn more and explore how a garden grant application might look for your community.

Grow Appalachia seeks to impact food insecurity in central Appalachia by helping as many Appalachian families grow as much of their own food as possible through grantmaking to non-profits throughout the region.

Grow Appalachia partners with non-profit organizations throughout central Appalachia to administer a Grow Appalachia gardening program at the local level–delivering organic production resources and technical assistance through a hired partner site coordinator so that families truly have all they need to grow their own food.

Since 2010, Grow Appalachia has partnered with more than 60 non-profits in central Appalachia who have worked with over 6,000 families to grow 4 million pounds of organic food for themselves and their families.

Grow Appalachia Partner Site Considerations

As a partner site, we are looking for the following:

Organizations In and Of A Community

(Organizations led and designed by the communities they are in.)

History of Food Security Work & Outreach

(Knowledge of food work demonstrates true interest.)

Demonstrated Fiscal Responsibility

(Ability to manage philanthropic funds efficiently and effectively.)

Grow Appalachia partner sites vary in sector and no two are alike. We have partnered with community-based non-profits, shelters for victims of intimate partner abuse, drug rehabilitation centers, churches, universities, schools, medical clinics, and extension offices.

We welcome proposals from any organization interested in improving their community’s access to healthy food.

Program Basics

Outlined below are some of the core components of operating a Grow Appalachia garden program.

Nonprofit partners deliver program activities either by hiring a site coordinator or supplementing current staffing for the site coordinator position. Many partners will also utilize funding to support several team members. For instance, a partner may have 3 different team members supporting the program through tilling, reporting, and program coordination. Grow Appalachia is committed to local leadership, which is why grants are administered at the community level, and why the program is led by local community members.

Each partner and their coordinator are responsible for recruiting their garden program participants. Many coordinators advertise via social media, newspaper, radio, direct word-of-mouth, church bulletins, and their own organization’s communication channels. Coordinators often ask interested participants to complete a short application so they can collect their contact information, and so that participants understand their commitments to the program. Throughout the year coordinators are expected to host classes (outlined in the next section) and to provide ongoing support for their gardeners. During the busiest time of the growing season, coordinators are expected to visit each of their gardeners at least once a month to help troubleshoot issues and to celebrate successes with their gardeners. Part of the grant reporting process includes tracking harvest data throughout the season. Coordinators are expected to find efficient ways for collecting that information with their participants. (See section below on reporting.)

Grow Appalachia requires partners to host classes in 6 key areas:

  1. Planning a garden
  2. Planting a garden
  3. Maintaining a garden
  4. Food preservation
  5. Heart-healthy cooking
  6. Season extension.

The curriculum for these classes is not standardized, and we invite you to draw on the expertise within your community or region for workshop instructors. Grow Appalachia staff have put together a Growing Resource Library for coordinators to use as starting points for workshop content. Staff are happy to talk through class information at any time with coordinators to ensure participants receive high-quality organic gardening education.

We encourage coordinators to think carefully about appropriate timing when planning their classes throughout the year. Garden Planning classes should be offered very early in the year and Food Preservation and Heart-Healthy Cooking classes offered during times when harvest is coming in from the garden.

You may combine these topics where it makes sense. While we do require the six, at minimum, you may have more. 

Classes are required for all Grow Appalachia participants.

Funds from the Grow Appalachia Garden Grant program can only go towards organic gardening, education, and resources. This is to ensure the safest production methods for gardeners and their garden ecosystems. Grow Appalachia staff are available to support any coordinator who is new to organic production, and the Growing Resource Library is a great tool for organic recommendations.

Coordinators are expected to procure all growing supplies and equipment for their gardeners, and to help them get distributed as safely and effectively as possible. We strongly encourage all coordinators start purchasing their materials as early as possible. It is common for coordinators to purchase seeds and supplies in bulk and then repackage them into smaller amounts for their gardeners to help save costs. Most partners have found it helpful to distribute supplies at workshops so that participants are encouraged to be in attendance and to connect in person when it is safe to do so. Throughout the pandemic, partners have found ways to offer hybrid learning opportunities and schedule windows of time for participants to pick up supplies. We defer to each partner and their own policies for safety throughout the pandemic.

All partners are expected to report bi-monthly between April-November each program year using an Excel spreadsheet that is provided. These reports cover an extensive list of quantitative data on the program including: grant expenses, workshops, participant information, harvest data, and more. These reports are meant to be a tool for partners to monitor program progress and to collect data that could be used for other grant opportunities as well. Grow Appalachia staff offer training on the reporting template.

Partners are also expected to submit a monthly blog March-October each program year. Coordinators may choose to blog on program updates, recipes, share stories from their participants, or more technical writing about a production practice. Blogs are a great way for us to hear program updates as well as a great opportunity for the larger Grow Appalachia community to connect with each other. Grow Appalachia staff offer training on blog submission through its WordPress website.

Are you interested in in applying for the Garden Grant program, but your community has been impacted by the recent devastating floods?

We have created a shortened application to allow you to focus your energy where you need it most.

Please see the link below for the shortened application.

Shortened Application
  • Grants can not be made to individuals, but are instead made to nonprofits who support individuals.
  • Conventional nonorganic sprays, fertilizers or treated seeds. Organic products only.
  • Fruit trees
  • Pigs, goats, cows or other meat animals. We will only fund laying hens.
  • Conference travel or registration
  • Workshop honoraria
  • “Consultant” positions
  • Flowers or decorative plants
  • General facility maintenance
  • Gardening books
  • Rain barrels
  • Program vehicles
  • Computers
  • Decorative garden infrastructure (pergolas, gazebos, fountains, etc.)

The Proposal

To apply to create a Grow Appalachia garden program in your area, you must first start with a proposal. We only accept proposals from non-profits and do not make grants to individuals or farms. All grant proposals should include a written formal request outlining the scope, focus and mission of the project along with a detailed budget of how funds will be used. Grant funds will be mailed in November and the program year begins December 1st and ends October 31st.

Narrative

Please make sure your narrative submission includes these required components.

Narratives do not need to be lengthy. Two or three pages could be enough and five is the maximum number of pages we will read. Please note that you should not submit us anything less than two pages of narrative.  We are happy to read drafts and give you feedback if you get them to us early (by Sept. 1).

Tell us something about your community and your organization and what your role is there.

How would funding strengthen your community? (Community defined as the area where you work–a hollow, a watershed, a county or two.)

In broader and then more focused language, tell us what it is you will do with the grant and what the real impact will be from this work. Tell us how many families you will work with, how many individual gardens you will install and how many community gardens you will work with.

Who will you be working with in your community to make the work deeper and richer?

What activities will you try to accomplish throughout the year that can add some income back into your program? (Think program sustainability)

Grow Appalachia requires 6 classes:

  1. Planning a garden
  2. Planting a garden
  3. Maintaining a garden
  4. Food preservation
  5. Heart-healthy cooking
  6. Season extension.

How will you administer those classes in your community to your participants? Please keep in mind that these classes must be taught at appropriate times throughout the year. (Planning classes should be offered very early in the year and food preservation classes offered during times when harvest is coming in from the garden.)

Classes are not standardized, and coordinators are encouraged to draw on the expertise within their community or region for workshop instructors. Please see the Growing Resource Library for curriculum resources.

Funds from a Grow Appalachia grant can only go towards organic gardening, education and resources. Please share more about how you will incorporate organic resources and education in your program delivery. Non-organic (conventional) practices, amendments, sprays and education are not encouraged and cannot be covered through this grant.

How will you encourage your growers to think about selling at your local farmers market? (Not required but highly recommended where appropriate.)

We require detailed reports that are due in April, July, September and November. Reports are robust Excel documents that are taught at the partner site gathering and on-going assistance is provided throughout the year.

All sites are required to blog once a month, starting in March and ending in October. Coordinators may choose to blog on program updates, recipes, share stories from their participants, or more technical writing about a production practice. Blogs are a great way for us to see how your program is going and an opportunity for the larger Grow Appalachia community to connect with each other.

Grow Appalachia staff offer training on blog submission through its WordPress website.

Please tell us how you will make sure your blogs are written and submitted on time.

Please attach the most recent version of your organization’s operating budget to your submission.

Budget

Please use the budget template linked below.

All narratives must be accompanied with a budget using the 6 budget categories: Labor, Travel, Instructional Costs, Equipment, Administrative.

Your budget needs a full description (budget justification) for how you intend to spend the funds.

Download the Budget Template here

Labor requests may not exceed more than 50% of the total request. Please show a detailed account of how many hours will be worked each month for the duration of the grant and the hourly rate. Many programs have more than one person hired to administer the program throughout the year. Partners often hire a site coordinator to do reporting, program implementation and blogging, while hiring another person to help till gardens and be available for technical support.

Please estimate how many miles you will travel throughout the year to visit your gardeners and your community gardens. Fuel for you to pick up supplies should go in travel, but fuel for tractors should go under consumables.

Please include mileage costs for an ‘All-Hands Gathering’ to be hosted in January in Berea, KY, where coordinators come together to network, learn, and plan. Grow Appalachia will cover lodging and meals while at the gathering, but please factor in other travel costs to get to the gathering.

Remember that you are required to teach 6 classes in:

  1. Planning a garden
  2. Planting a garden
  3. Maintaining a garden
  4. Food preservation
  5. Heart-healthy cooking
  6. Season extension.

To deliver this education many coordinators will partner with their local extension agents or other partner sites to teach classes.

In this section, please list costs for classes.  You can also include costs for hiring an instructor for classes you do not feel comfortable or knowledgeable leading.

These are items that will still be around after the first year. We consider these investments. Equipment includes: hand tools, t-posts, a walk-behind tractor, drip irrigation supplies, canners, etc.

Consumables are anything that will likely not be around the second year. These items include: seeds, plants, organic pesticides, fertilizer, fuel for tractors and tillers, jars and canning supplies, etc.

Administrative costs cannot exceed more than 5% of the total budget. These costs include: fiscal management costs, incidental office supplies, phone and internet costs that are directly related to your Grow Appalachia program, etc.

Garden Grants Timeline

  • August 1st – Proposal Submission Opens
  • September 1st – Draft Proposals Due by 5pm EST
  • October 1st – Final Proposals Due by 5pm EST
  • November 9th – Grant Notices Sent Out
  • November 19th – Grant Checks Mailed
  • December 1st – Program Year Begins
  • October 31st – Program Year Ends

For Questions & To Submit Your Proposal

Click Here