Gardens vying to win $20K; your votes needed

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Vicksburg Community Garden and the Vicksburg National Military Park Heritage Demonstration Garden have entered the Seeds of Change Grant Program for an opportunity to win either a $20,000 or $10,000 grant and are asking the community to get out and vote for their applications.

The Grant Program aims to enhance the environmental, economic and social well-being of gardens, farms and communities.

“The purpose of the community garden is to make a positive impact on the city’s obesity issues,” said Linda Fondren, executive director and founder of Shape Up Mississippi. “The community garden is a tremendous opportunity to join forces with the neighborhood faith-based community and schools to strengthen our ties as young and old, black and white and work side by side weeding, watering and planting.”

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The grants will be awarded to organizations that help support sustainable, community-based gardening and farming programs that focus on teaching people about the food they eat and how it’s grown.

“The grant will help us grow a sustainable garden and reach single parent families, disadvantaged youth, limited resource neighborhoods and families with young children,” Fondren said. “Through this grant we can develop a nutrition educational action plan through literature and workshops, cooking classes, recruit and maintain volunteers, and get the cooperation and collaboration of the faith-based community and schools we need to reach a larger number of people to have a greater impact.”

Shape Up Mississippi, a partner of the Vicksburg Community Garden, submitted an application highlighting how they would use a Seeds of Change Grant to grow their gardening program and achieve their goals.

“We want to offer uplifting motivational tips and tactics to incorporate better nutrition and exercise into daily activities as well as menu ideas for delicious healthy eating,” Fondren said.

From now through April 18, the community can get out the vote and support local gardening and farming programs by visiting the Seeds of Change website and voting once per day.

After voting closes on April 18, the top 50 organizations with the most votes will move on to the final judging phase.

Around May 3, Seeds of Change will announce 24 grant recipients: 12 school garden recipients and 12 community garden recipients.

Of these grant recipients, two school gardens and two community gardens will receive $20,000 and 10 school gardens and 10 community gardens will receive $10,000.

For more information about Seeds of Change® or the Seeds of Change Grant Program, please visit A portion of the Seeds of Change “1% Fund,” the company’s commitment to donate one percent of net sales, is allocated to support the annual Grant Program.

Residents can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #SeedsofChangeGrant.