As you leaf through your seed catalogs on these cold winter day, remember that community gardens play a critical role in improving the overall health of communities by getting fruits and vegetables into the hands of people who live in neighborhoods with limited or no-access to fresh produce.
To help in this health effort, the United Way of Central Iowa offers mini-grants for nonprofit organizations that already have a community garden or want to start a community garden. Application are due Feb. 17 by 5 p.m.
Groups that own an area of land that is managed and maintained by a group of individuals who grow and harvest food crops for non-retail, personal or group use or for donation may also apply for a mini-grant.
Applicants for new and existing community gardens must be located in Polk, Dallas or Warren counties. Community gardens may be common areas and/or be divided into separate plots for cultivation by one or more individuals, or they may be farmed collectively by members of a group. For purposes of this funding, the garden cannot be used for retail or job-training programs.
This mini-grant opportunity is provided by United Way of Central Iowa in partnership with Eat Greater Des Moines, whose mission is to identify, develop and connect resources with the broader community to support the entire food life cycle.
The United Way of Central Iowa funds the garden grants and serves as grant administrator, with expert guidance and support from Eat Greater Des Moines. For more information, visit the United Way website or attend an informational session Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. at United Way of Central Iowa, 1111 Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50314.