Several Silver Spring-based organizations have been given grants to increase resident access to yard, patio, and community gardening supplies, space, and education, under the Montgomery County Food Council’s Resident and Community Food Production Grant Program.
IMPACT Silver Spring, AfriThrive, Vietnamese American Services, and Shepherd’s Table are among the 12 local organizations selected under the program, according to a Montgomery County Food Council press release.
Grant awards are funded through County General Funds and Federal CARES Act funding that was appropriated by the Montgomery County Executive and Montgomery County Council to address local food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Food Council’s website, a panel of 16 local community, food security, and gardening experts reviewed the applications to determine grant awards. Grant applications were reviewed on criteria that included the long term viability of the project and the extent to which the project increases resident and community food production and food access in the County, with a focus on providing culturally appropriate food to support diverse populations in zip codes with high rates of food insecurity in the County. Funded projects range from establishing or enhancing resident gardening programs serving diverse community members to providing gardening education to residents on planting, cultivating, and harvesting.
“I am so pleased that the County will be awarding grants for this community gardens program,” Montgomery County Council President Sidney Katz said in the Montgomery County Food Council press release. “There has never been a time when food security is as important as it is now. The pandemic has illustrated major inequities in our County – food security being at the forefront. The grants that will help start-up more community gardens are so very necessary to encourage more people to grow fresh food in an environmentally and economically positive way.“
Other organizations given grants under the program include Audubon Naturalist Society, Community Support Services Inc., HarvestShare, ISWA, Kunzang Odsal Palyul Changchub Choling, Menare Foundation Inc., Rockville Seniors Inc., and The Living Legends Awards for Service to Humanity.