Congratulations to our 2024 Partners!

Applications for 2025 will open in the fall of 2024.

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

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.

We look for the following in prospective partner sites:

Organizations in and of a community

Organizations led and designed by the communities they are in

History of food security work

Knowledge of food work demonstrates true interest

Demonstrated fiscal responsibility

Ability to manage philanthropic funds efficiently and effectively

Program Basics

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.

  • 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 (1) written formal request outlining the scope, focus and mission of the project and a (2) detailed budget of how funds will be used. Grant funds will be mailed in November. The program year begins December 1st and ends October 31st.

1. Narrative

Please make sure your narrative submission includes these required components.
Narratives must be a minimum of 2 pages and no longer than 5 pages. We are happy to read drafts and give you feedback if you submit them by September 1st.

Tell us about your community, your organization, and your role within that organization.

Why does your community need a Grow Appalachia program?

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. How many families will you work with? How many backyard gardens will you work with? Or, does your community have trouble accessing land to grow food? We evaluate community garden-based applications on a case by case basis

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)

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.

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

Grow Appalachia requires 6 classes: garden planning, garden planting, garden maintenance, food preservation, heart-healthy cooking, and season extension. How will you administer those classes in your community to your participants? Please also provide a tentative monthly class schedule to guide your planning process.

Are you planning to incorporate any education on seed saving into your program? Is seed saving something your program and/or gardeners are currently doing? Please elaborate if you have any interest in adding a seed saving component to your program.

When appropriate, we encourage growers to sell at their local farmers’ market. How would you encourage your gardeners to progress to the market level?

We require 4 Excel-based reports due in April, June, August and November. Who will be collecting information, including ongoing harvest reporting data, and completing these reports via Excel? How will you ensure reports are submitted on time?

All sites are required to blog once a month, starting in March and ending in October. How will you make sure your blogs are written and submitted on time?

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

All partner sites must send at least 1 representative to attend the annual All Hands Gathering in Berea, KY on February 8-9th, 2024. We review reporting & other grant requirements, provide networking opportunities for all of our partner sites, and host workshops. Please include any suggestions you have for the 2024 Gathering, including workshop topics.

2. 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.

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 February 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.

For Questions & To Submit Your Proposal

Questions and proposal submission should be directed to